Posted by Virus Bulletin on Feb 9, 2011
Bulgarians most likely to have become infected; financial losses most prevalent among Latvians.
For the occasion of Safer Internet Day on 8 February, Eurostat, the EU's statistical office, published a report providing various statistics on Internet security.
One of the report's findings was that the use of IT security software (e.g. anti-virus software or a firewall) is most common among Internet users in the Netherlands, where 96% of users employ at least one such solution. Luxembourg, Finland and Malta share the second place in this table, while Estonia, Romania and Latvia - where less than two-thirds of the online population use security software - find themselves at the bottom of the table.
The survey from which the report was compiled also asked users whether they had been the victim of an infection in the past 12 months. A shocking 31% of Europeans said they had, with only Austria (14%) and Ireland (15%) being able to claim that less than one fifth of the online population had become infected.
As expected, there appears to be an overall negative correlation between the penetration of security software and the occurrence of infections, but Malta - which had the second highest number of infections (50%, after Bulgaria's 58%) - is a notable exception. Financial losses as a result of such infections were suffered by 3% of the EU's Internet users, with Latvians (8%) and Brits (7%) most likely to have suffered such losses.
It should be noted, however, that the report looked at users' perception rather than actual infections, many of which are not noticed by the user. And the high prevalence of rogue anti-malware could mean that some users who think they are protected, are in fact running a piece of malware.