According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, nearly 17% of the world’s personal computers are completely unprotected. This is a worrying trend for computer security experts. With 1 in 6 computers being unprotected, it is incredibly easy for viruses and malware to spread around the world.

What does McAfee mean by ‘completely unprotected’? Well, basically it means that these computers have no antivirus software or anti-malware applications of any kind installed on their computer. They don’t even use free programs to detect malware, nor do they have active internet scanning technology installed. In some cases, McAfee found that users had simply let antivirus software become out of date, or did not renew their subscriptions after the expiry date.

McAfee’s study was conducted by analyzing nearly 28 million voluntary computer users from 24 different countries.

Unfortunately for Americans, the United States is in the top 5 least protected countries in the world, where almost 1 in 5 computer users browse the internet unprotected.

Why are people still leaving their computers unprotected? In an age where viruses are becoming more and more dangerous, browsing the web without antivirus software is like running onto a shooting range in a T-Shirt: it’s just a bad idea. People who don’t use antivirus software have a much higher chance of having their identities stolen, for example.

Meanwhile, new viruses like Flame have the ability to record audio conversations using your computer’s hardware, and Flame can even take pictures from your webcam. When you combine these frightening viruses with the lack of protection, most people have to ask, “What on Earth are you thinking?”

McAfee’s study also produced other surprising results:

-83% of global PC users have at least basic security protection

-Singapore’s PCs are the least likely to be protected, with about 22% of users having no security software installed

-Spain’s PCs are the most likely to be protected, with about 84% of users having PC security software installed

-Approximately half the users who didn’t have effective PC security software installed had out-of-date or expired antivirus software installed on their computers

-Nearly 27% of users said they wouldn’t be able to replace their files if lost. Even more surprising is the fact that consumers valued the data on their computers at over $10,000, which is a significant loss to take if your computer’s hard drive ever fails.

Check out the full report at Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch


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