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No antivirus risks 25% of PCs

18 Apr 2013

In either an act of increased scaremongering, or genuine concern, Microsoft says a quarter of computers are at risk for not using up-to-date antivirus software.

Releasing the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report volume 14, the study shows 2.5 out of 10 PCs on average lack an efficient protection layer, making them 5.5 times more likely to be infected with malware.

“People intuitively understand the importance of locking their front doors to prevent their homes from being broken into," says Tim Rains, director, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft.

"Computer security is no different. Surfing the Internet without up-to-date Antivirus is like leaving your front door open to criminals.

“With the release of this new research, Microsoft is urging people to make sure they have up-to-date Antivirus installed on their computers.”

Think before you click:

Microsoft says it detected and removed malicious email attachments from almost three million computers during the fourth quarter of 2012.

People encounter this type of threat when opening documents, such as a PDF or Word document, that have been maliciously crafted and sent to them in email.

Bargain hunters beware:

Keygen, a threat family commonly bundled with malware, was detected almost seven million times during the last quarter of the year, through people seeking free or discounted software, movies or games online.

Yet despite the benefits of antivirus, the software company says many people do not realise they are unprotected. There are a number of reasons why:

• A trial period has expired or the software is out of date

• The antivirus was disabled by malware

• People may not realise the importance of antivirus so they do not install it

To find out if people are using valid and up-to-date Antivirus, Microsoft recommends they go to their system control panels to check their computers’ security settings, and if they do not have antivirus installed, they can download it from a trusted vendor.

“Regardless of whether you use a free or paid-for solution, the importance of Antivirus cannot be overstated,” Rains says.

“By taking the proper measures to protect your computer, including the most basic step of installing Antivirus, you can dramatically reduce your risk of becoming a victim.”

Is your PC fully protected? Is Microsoft simply scaremongering? Tell us your thoughts below