Security Experts:

Lackluster PC Protection a Global Problem, says McAfee

McAfee Finds Nearly One in Every Six PC's Have Zero Protection

According to a global study by McAfee, Intel’s security operation, one-in-six computers globally are running without any sort of cyber threat protection. The study ranks systems that were either running with no anti-virus, or those with anti-virus applications that were disabled.

Analyzing the 27 million systems that used McAfee Security Scan Plus (a free scan tool offered by the company), McAfee discovered that 17% of them were unprotected. For the research, basic security protection was defined as working anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall technologies.

McAfeeBased on the data, the top five most vulnerable countries are Singapore, Mexico, Spain, Japan, and the U.S. The best protected countries include Finland, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, and Denmark.

Here at home, the U.S. ranked fifth on the list of least protected, which translates to 19.32% of Americans browsing the Internet without any protection (12.25% of them had zero security protection installed and 7.07% had security software installed, but disabled).

Finland showed to be the most protected, with only 9.7% of PCs not having any security protection

“The freedom to browse the internet comes with the added risk of unwanted exposure, and cybercriminals are preying on unsuspecting victims,” said Steve Petracca, SVP and GM of consumer, small business and mobile at McAfee. “With the increasing number of global cyber-attacks affecting consumers, it is critical that the 17% of consumers that are unprotected update their virus protection before it’s too late.”

Just last week, McAfee released its quarterly threats report for Q1 2012, revealing that PC-based malware hit a new high during the quarter, making it the largest jump the segment has seen in four years

Additional details from the PC protection study is available on McAfee’s blog.  

Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.