Seventeen Percent of PCs Are Overtly Exposed

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Robert Siciliano

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Exposed as in streaking through life naked without a stitch of security. There are things I do and things I don’t do, and no security isn’t on my “do” list. Come on, people!

McAfee used its Windows-based Security Scan Plus scan an average of 17 million PCs per month in 24 different countries. This was the first industry study of its kind, thought to be the most accurate snapshot of consumer PC protection to date.

83% of computers scanned were found to be protected with the basics. Basic security protection includes working antivirus software, anti-spyware protection, and firewalls. That leaves 17% with no or essentially no protection from malware and other threats.

Other key findings include:

  • Finland is the most protected country with only 9.7% of PCs lacking any security protection
  • Singapore ranked at the bottom with 21.75% of consumer PCs completely unprotected
  • 11.75% of Singapore’s PCs have security software installed, but it is disabled
  • Spain had the highest percentage of PCs without any installed basic security protection at 16.33%

The United States is the 5th least protected country, with 19.32% of Americans browsing the Internet without any protection; 12.25% of consumers have zero security protection installed; 7.07% have security software installed but it is disabled.

If you are part of the 17% without security software installed, listen up: there are millions of viruses out there that will ravage your PC to death. Some can make your PC completely inoperable, while others allow criminals to control your PC remotely, making it part of a “botnet,” used for nefarious ends by a criminal network.

But worst of all are viruses that allow criminals to access your data in order to steal your identity.

So please, protect your PC with comprehensive security software that includes antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, anti-phishing and firewall protection, and save us all the discomfort of having to look at your naked PC.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. See him on Anderson Cooper discussing mobile security and identity theft. (Disclosures)

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