One-third of Irish people don’t practice ‘safe security’

13 Jul 2011

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One in three Irishmen regularly exposes himself, 5pc of Dubliners don’t use any protection, but Irish women are less likely to spread infection. What are we talking about? Anti-virus software of course!

Irish people have a tendency to skip anti-virus warnings on their computers, opening their machines and networks up to attack by hackers and malware.

ESET Ireland questioned Irish computer users in its latest computer security survey carried out by Amarách research.

As many as 34pc of the surveyed computer users ignore the alerts their antivirus shows them. Furthermore, according to demographic statistics:

  • The worst behaviour is displayed by a young male from the Dublin area (54pc of age group 15-24, 35pc of males and 41pc in Dublin ignore warnings),
  • The safest is displayed by a female over 55 from Connaught or Ulster (only 23pc of age group 55+, 33pc of females, and 31pc in the north ignore warnings)
  • Four per cent of the Irish don’t use any antivirus software (8pc of the young and 5pc of Dubliners)

The data collected in the survey suggests that 1.2m Irish computer users may infect their computers intentionally. While women are proving more careful, a large percentage of young men won’t be told what to do and will click on anything they please.

Even if just 10pc actually get infected, that still means 120,000 potential infections in regular intervals. This sort of behaviour results in thousands of lost documents, computer re-installations, frustration and many wasted work hours. 

Reckless behaviour

“The relation between risk factor and demographics implies that the more someone considers themselves an experienced computer user or feels ‘they know what they are doing’, which certainly would be the case with young urban males, the more they are willing to take the chance of getting infected, just to run that program or view that website they wanted, no matter how risky it could be,” said Urban Schrott, security analyst at ESET Ireland.

“It may seem like a paradox, but less computer-savvy users are treating security much more carefully. Because, unfortunately, no matter how good your antivirus program is, it serves little purpose if you ignore its warnings or reverse its security protocols.”

Antivirus software often relies on computer users to allow or disallow certain things from occurring on the computer. But while making the wrong decision could be potentially troublesome, it is people who turn their antivirus completely off, while it is trying to protect them from infection, that is hard to understand.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com