A fourth of all PCs are unprotected from virus and malware threats

By on April 17, 2013, 4:30 PM

Nearly a quarter of all PCs in the world are unprotected from virus, malware and other malicious threats according to Microsoft’s latest Security Intelligence Report. In it, Redmond said computers without any protection are 5.5 times more likely to become infected than systems running some sort of up to date anti-virus software.

The company’s research revealed that malicious documents like PDFs and Word documents are on the rise. During the fourth quarter of 2012, Microsoft said they detected and removed malicious documents from nearly three million computers.

Reasons for infection are aplenty. Some users let the trial period on their anti-virus expire or the software is simply out of date while some malware is capable of disabling anti-virus protection. In most of these cases, users aren’t even aware that they are no longer protected from online perils. Still others simply aren’t aware of how important it is to run protection in the first place.

Another source for infection is fake anti-virus software. These programs often look and feel like the real thing but they aren’t. Microsoft said they removed a prevalent scareware package called Onescan from close to three million computers worldwide in the second half of 2012.

It goes without saying that you should probably stick to a trusted vendor when selecting anti-virus software for your system. If you are running Windows 8, you’ve got nothing to worry about as the OS ships with anti-virus software built in.




User Comments: 18

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tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

I use Microsoft Security Essentials on all Windows systems here, on Android tablets and smartphones Dr. Web Light. Both are free. Then I use Windows Control Firewall and make sure applications don't call home or try to access internet. Some apps do need to call home. But a lot of them don't. You need extra layers of protection and you don't want to go crazy doing so.

First layer of protection is to get a good router that has extra security layers to prevent access to your network. Most can block cookies, java script, url links. They need to go more than that.

Build up the defense first.

MSE

Spyware Blaster

Windows Control Firewall (add-on for Windows firewall)

Guest said:

Now a while back I read up on bits, and MSE was like considered to be ok. But now its lost its Anti virus certificate a while back I wouldn't trust it with my system again.

Avast did better in the more recent testings did it not ?

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I have a Watchguard x55e firewall and Microsoft security essentials, I can see all the traffic going in and out of my internet connection, I make sure the only ports that are open are open for a reason, nothing can get in or indeed, out.

But even so, before the Watchguard I was using a simple Netgear Router and I still didn't get anything, I've only been using an anti-virus for the last 2 years and only because I kept being told "I must have one installed" but even before then, I never had I virus, would do a yearly scan with something like malwarebytes and whatever free anti-virus was the best that year and every year they both came back with nothing. But then again, an Anti-virus would actually slow my machine down back then, nowadays my PC's don't struggle at all.

JC713 JC713 said:

I use Microsoft Security Essentials on all Windows systems here, on Android tablets and smartphones Dr. Web Light. Both are free. Then I use Windows Control Firewall and make sure applications don't call home or try to access internet. Some apps do need to call home. But a lot of them don't. You need extra layers of protection and you don't want to go crazy doing so.

First layer of protection is to get a good router that has extra security layers to prevent access to your network. Most can block cookies, java script, url links. They need to go more than that.

Build up the defense first.

MSE

Spyware Blaster

Windows Control Firewall (add-on for Windows firewall)

Is spyware blaster necessary? I never got what it did (seems pretty self explanatory), but what exactly does it do.

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

Can someone explain why the picture doesn't include countries like China, Korea, Japan ..., but at the same time has South Africa?

Guest said:

Well, just because you havent found a virus or malware does not mean you have not at one point in time been riddled with the stuff.

How people protect themselves depends on who they talked to who they know, what they have been told is best, and sometimes we are led astray. For instance when I asked around my IRC friends who were into the security aspect of PC's, it was all, symantec AV, sygate firewall, and Spybot SD (for the malware). Webroot window washer for the deep cleansing action.

Then it became Kaspersky or ESET as the AVs, and Comodo as a nice freeware firewall.

At the end of the day if someone wants on your pc, they will get on, you cant do much about it, you are probably nowhere near as well protected as some of those targeted by anonymous. You can try, you can believe that AV's and firewalls are worth the yearly subscriptions, but many people use freebies , not because they are cheap people like free, but at the end of the day, free are just as good heuristically, but you may have to manually update, the fee is for the auto updating feature most the time.

I have heard of people showing someone a virus that got detected by the AV and after 6 seconds of changing some code, the AV failed to pick it up. Also some talked of how AV's are for those who don't know how to use the interwebs, click on pop ups, and visit dodgy pr0n sites, or hijacked sites. That all you need really is a firewall.

Just because you feel safe, doesnt mean you are. Especially in this day and age. Your safest bet is to pull the plug, and go live in a wooden cabin, covered in tin foil. See you there

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Well...

me and 3 other friends have not used antivirus at all for 8 years and none of us have had any real problems..

this install is 3 years old at least and nothing..

checked it a couple of times bits of nothings..

we all use our pc's for gaming and constant browsing.

Don't click dirty links on dirty site's.. (or email's)

mat2t

1 person liked this | Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Well, just because you havent found a virus or malware does not mean you have not at one point in time been riddled with the stuff.

At the end of the day if someone wants on your pc, they will get on, you cant do much about it, you are probably nowhere near as well protected as some of those targeted by anonymous. You can try, you can believe that AV's and firewalls are worth the yearly subscriptions

Well no, If I was at one point in time riddled with virus's, why would they auto delete themselves for me just in the nick of time before I ran my random yearly scan?

Anyway, that's not technically true at all, I'm probably better protected than most, I lock down access to my home computer so it cannot be accessed remotely with the exception of my work IP, My website is password protected and updated, even if it was hacked, nothing important on their and its in a virtual machine so can be put back with Veeam in minutes.

If I want to stream movies and access my files remotely I use SSTP and locked it down with complex usernames and passwords. My Mail Server uses a third party anti-spam solution meaning my MX records don't even point to my server, they go through another company and then routed to me, I've locked down the firewall to just those IP's for incoming traffic.

In fact I've locked it down quite well, I cba to go on, but I think your wrong though, I've had to support some companies in London a few years back and some didn't even have an anti-virus solution in place, using Windows XP SP2 with no recent updates and was using a home router as a firewall, this company was small (15 ish users) but they had far more sensitive information on their server than I have at home

Mbloof said:

While the raw numbers might look scary, it really may not be as bad as it seems. Embedded, unattached and closed off systems have little to no use for typical consumer 'security software'. Many corporate and government 'intranets' make heavy use of well scanned/filtered proxy servers and other server side software solutions instead of loading each work station with an AV product.

A good well supported and updated 3rd party browser, some safe computing and surfing habits behind a good hardware firewall are worth more than a subscription to any of the 'signature' based consumer protection schemes.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Windows Firewall only. #YOLOSWAG.

PinothyJ said:

I use Microsoft Security Essentials on all Windows systems here, on Android tablets and smartphones Dr. Web Light. Both are free. Then I use Windows Control Firewall and make sure applications don't call home or try to access internet. Some apps do need to call home. But a lot of them don't. You need extra layers of protection and you don't want to go crazy doing so.

First layer of protection is to get a good router that has extra security layers to prevent access to your network. Most can block cookies, java script, url links. They need to go more than that.

Build up the defense first.

MSE

Spyware Blaster

Windows Control Firewall (add-on for Windows firewall)

Except MSE has gotten the worst score two tests in a row from AV-Test...

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Now a while back I read up on bits, and MSE was like considered to be ok. But now its lost its Anti virus certificate a while back I wouldn't trust it with my system again.

Avast did better in the more recent testings did it not ?

Really but it does protect, I don't follow all those so call AV reports and test. MSE has worked for day one, so everything I run and built use MSE. Avast is just to laggy and AVG would be use if MSE kept on giving update errors or couldn't be uninstalled and reinstalled then AVG Free would be used.

sabrinasai sabrinasai said:

I could agree with this. its best to go with a good security software for our pc to be more safe from hackers and other attakcs!

I presently use comodo Internet Security which is very usefull in protecting my pc from all kinds of internet malware atacks!

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I moved back from MSE to AVG a few days ago. That said, haven't had a virus for years.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

A good well supported and updated 3rd party browser, some safe computing and surfing habits behind a good hardware firewall are worth more than a subscription to any of the 'signature' based consumer protection schemes.

Couldn't agree more, and the more all our devices end up connected to the internet, the firewall will become more and more important.

fraggleki said:

I don't even personally run a virus scan. Just try to be smart!

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

I don't even personally run a virus scan. Just try to be smart!

Not a question of being smart as you say not like the early 90's! You just don't want to invite unwelcome guest on your system today.

1 person liked this | GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

IDK why but the around the second half of march we started getting about 2-3 times the virus removals at work. There were a few viruses going around at the time it seemed like, and it was like all the major anti virus were on sale, the only two we recommend is Kaspersky and Norton usually, ESET is nice but takes control sometimes, which the average customer of ours tends to hate (gave Norton a bad rap back in 2008), Trend has the same prop as ESET but its heavier on the system, and Mcafee is a good mix of them all and has the financial support of Intel behind it, but its probably the heaviest anti virus on the market, so older computers beware. On my system I went from running no anti virus to running MSE or just using windows defender in windows 8 (love how that's included). most virus's get onto systems from the basic lack of knowledge around 80% of computer users have about the internet, something we all take for granted sometimes, but the amount of calls I get about how they went to Microsoft's site and they said they would remove the virus's for $200, there are so many scams and pop-ups and people downloading things they shouldn't or bad download sites (thanks techspot for the safe downloads here), in the end if around 50% of the people who use the internet today didn't,virus makers would move on and find some other way to scam, since there would be no money.

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