US users overestimating PC security

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Oct 5, 2007

Survey finds people are less protected than they think.

A joint study carried out by McAfee and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has found that many US consumers wrongly assume their computers are safe from malware and infiltration.

Computer users were questioned about security software running on their home machines, and their answers compared to the real status of systems. While 87% of users believed they had anti-virus set up, in fact 94% had some kind of software installed, but only just over 50% had updated it in the last month. Firewalls showed a similar pattern, with 73% claiming to have one and software found on 81% of systems, but only 64% actually running the protection. Anti-spyware software, which 73% thought they had, was in fact on just 55% of the machines. Only 22% of users had the full package of a running firewall, anti-spyware and reasonably up-to-date anti-virus software - this figure rises to 25% in the over-45 age group, but drops to just 18% among younger users.

The study also looks at spam and phishing (again, many more users thought they were running filtering software than actually were) as well as attitudes, understanding of security issues, and types of data stored on home systems. A McAfee blog entry is here and the full results of the survey are here.

Posted on 05 October 2007 by Virus Bulletin



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