Over the recent holiday season, like many of you, I took the opportunity to get together with friends. As often happens on these occasions, I got quizzed on everyone’s, it seems to me, least favorite computer related topic; the state of computer security. And as often happens during these informal “question and answer” gabfests, I continued to be amazed by the lack of fundamental security knowledge exhibited by typical computer users.
This particular occasion brought back to me the intriguing statistics developed in a recent survey developed by National Cyber Security Alliance, and security firm McAfee.
The overriding statement that can be attributed to this survey is: computer users are in need of a “reality check” when it comes to home computer security.
Based on the survey, McAfee and NCSA stated; while 98 percent of computer users agree that having up-to-date security software is important for system security, a significant number of the survey respondents have computers with security software that is incomplete, or dangerously out of date.
Based on my own experiences, I believe this survey does not overstate the case.
Highlights of the survey:
- Ninety-two percent of those surveyed believed their anti-virus software was up to date, but in fact, only 51 % had updated their anti-virus software within the past week.
- Seventy-three percent of those surveyed believed they had a firewall installed and enabled, yet only 64 % actually did.
- Approximately 70 % of PC users believed they had anti-spyware software, but only 55 % actually had it installed.
- 25% of survey participants believed they had anti-phishing software, but only 12 % actually had the software.
Where do you fit in all this?
Most of us now store a large volume of confidential personal information on our home computers, including information concerning our personal finances, taxes, health, and perhaps personal documentation and personal files of other types.
So, it may well be that we all need to take the time to survey our computers to insure that all relevant security applications have been installed, are up to date, and are operating correctly.
One of the better applications that will produce a survey of your computer is Belarc Advisor which can be reviewed and downloaded, if you choose, from this Blog.
If you need to update or add additional security applications to your computer, then checkout The Top 10 Security Applications on this Blog for reviews, and free security application downloads.