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Only 1 in 5 Windows PCs are Protected from Viruses

McAfeeWould you like to hear a troubling statistic? I thought you might. According to an antivirus vendor, almost one-fifth of every Windows PC in the United States lacks any kind of active security protection. This data comes from a year-long project conducted by the company, which shows that one out of every five Windows PCs in the country are without protection.

According to Director of Global Consumer Product Marketing for McAfee Gary Davis, in talking about the scope of the company’s sampling of PC security, “The scale of this is unprecedented.” McAfee took measurements from scans of over 280 million PCs over the course of the last year and discovered that 19.3% of them browsed the internet without any form of antivirus software. In addition to that, owners of those unprotected PCs downloaded and used McAfee’s free Security Scan Plus, which checks for antivirus programs and enabled firewalls.

The scan was on a global scale and incorporated 24 different countries. The average rate of unprotected computers was 17%, which also put the United States in the top 5 most unprotected countries. Of all the unprotected PCs in the states, 63% had absolutely no security software at all while the remaining 37% had an inactive program.

Most of the users that have inactive programs probably do so because they had a trial version when they first bought their computer and never bought the actual product when that trial expired. However, the number of computers on the internet without protection because their trials expired is bad for them and security vendors as well. Hacked PCs affect the entire Windows ecosystem with spam and DoS attacks.

Davis attributes these numbers to a variety of things, including users who thought they were protected when their trial had actually expired. Davis also attributed the numbers to some skewing in McAfee’s data due to the self-selecting nature of the pool of PCs scanned. According to Davis, “Some probably do suspect that their antivirus is turned off, and so take advantage of our free scan.”

However, Microsoft did a telemetry last year, showing that there was an increasing number of unprotected Windows PCs. Microsoft attributed those numbers to aging PCs with expired antivirus trials and noted that 24% of Windows 7 PCs lacked protection.

According to Davis, “What will be interesting is if Windows 8 gets clinical mass, because AV is now part of Windows 8.” Davis is, of course, referring to Microsoft’s decision to blend Security Essentials with Windows Defender, then bundle the protection with the new operating system.

There are a lot of free antivirus programs out there and users don’t always have to throw down a lot of money on Norton or McAfee to stay safe. However, having no protection at all and downloading things off the internet is extremely dangerous and could severely affect your PC, so be careful out there.

Source: Computer World – 1 in 5 U.S. Windows PCs lacks antivirus defenses

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