Irish web users are 2nd-fewest virus recipients in EU

8 Feb 2011

Ireland had the second-lowest share of internet users catching a virus or computer infection, an EU for Safer Internet Day study suggests.

The statistical office of the European Union, Eurostat, found the fewest users to receive an internet virus was in Austria, with a 14pc share.

Ireland came second with 15pc and Finland was third, with 20pc.

The highest share of internet users catching a virus or computer infection was in Bulgaria, at 58pc.

Second highest was Malta, with half of its users receiving a virus or computer infection and Slovakia came in third at 47pc.

Safer Internet Day

The study was conducted for Safer Internet Day, 8 February, from a survey on ICT usage in households in the EU27, mainly carried out in the second quarter of 2010.

In total, almost a third of individuals who used the internet 12 months prior to the survey had caught a virus or computer infection, resulting in loss of information or time.

Three per cent of internet users suffered financial loss in this period due to phishing or pharming attacks or fraudulent payment card use. The highest share of this was in Latvia, with the UK coming second and both Malta and Austria coming third.

In Ireland, 4pc of individuals suffered financial loss through phishing and pharming.

Four per cent of users in the EU said they suffered from an abuse of personal information sent on the internet or other privacy violations during this time. The highest shares of these were found in Bulgaria and Spain.

Security software usage

Eighty-four per cent of individuals said they used an IT security software or tool to protect their private computer or data. The highest rate was found in the Netherlands at 96pc. In Ireland, 80pc of users utilised IT security software for private computers.

Fourteen per cent of individuals in Europe with children used parental control or web-filtering software. The rate in Ireland was 10pc.

Five per cent of those in the EU living in a household with children said they experienced these children accessing inappropriate websites or connecting with potentially dangerous people online.

Eurostat noted this figure only represents those who became aware of the issue and believes that cases where children access inappropriate content or speak with dangerous individuals online could be higher.