The past couple of months have seen the web come under attack in a series of high profile security breaches, and if there's a silver lining to it all, it's that the attacks have made PC security a hot topic. Turns out it's a much needed one, not just for corporations, but for end users as well. According to a new survey by G Data, users have a lot to learn when it comes to malware and taking proper security measures.
G Data's Security Survey 2011 (PDF) set out to discover how well informed Internet users are about the genuine threats in cyberspace, the perpetrators' methods, whether younger or older users are more astute in terms of IT security, and handful of other related questions. Here are some of the key findings of G Data's online survey of 15,559 Internet users in eleven countries between the ages of 18 to 65:
More than 89 percent of survey respondents have security software installed on their system, with 48 percent relying on free software
Nearly 44 percent of survey participants regard the scope of service and quality of free security software as equivalent to purchased solutions
Only 4 percent of survey respondents are running unprotected PCs
So far there's not much to criticize, not unless you want to argue whether or not free AV software can be as effective as paid security suites. However, here are some of the more concerning key findings:
5 percent said they have no idea whether or not they have any security software installed on their system
Most survey participants who said they run free AV software also said they where using an Internet security suite with a personal firewall, anti-spam protection, and web protection, even though these items aren't included in free AV applications
93 percent said they are convinced that malware has a distinct, identifiable effect on the PC, and over 45 percent assume their computer will immediately crash if infected
More than half of respondents believe most malware is spread through email attachments; G Data says this notion is outdated and most malware is spread through URLs
The lengthy report goes on to list several malware myths that, according to the survey results, show "Americans are dangerously out-of-touch with the sophistication of today's threat landscape."