Malware Infections 5.5 Times More Likely Without Antivirus Software, Finds New Research From Microsoft

REDMOND, Wash. — April 17, 2013 — Microsoft Corp. today released the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report volume 14 (SIRv14). In addition to analyzing prevalent threats from across the globe, the data revealed an important trend related to antivirus software (Antivirus). The study showed 2.5 out of 10 computers on average do not use up-to-date Antivirus. The report shows that without this vital protection layer, computers are 5.5 times more likely to be infected with malware. Antivirus helps guard against viruses, remove infections and protect people’s privacy.

“People intuitively understand the importance of locking their front doors to prevent their homes from being broken into. Computer security is no different. Surfing the Internet without up-to-date Antivirus is like leaving your front door open to criminals,” said Tim Rains, director, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft. “With the release of this new research, Microsoft is urging people to make sure they have up-to-date Antivirus installed on their computers.”

SIRv14 explains some of the most prevalent threats facing consumers online:

• Think before you click. Microsoft detected and removed malicious email attachments from almost 3 million computers in the fourth quarter of 2012. People encounter this type of threat when opening documents, such as a PDF or Word document, that have been maliciously crafted and sent to them in email. Antivirus can help prevent infection from this type of attack.

• Bargain hunters beware. Keygen, a threat family commonly bundled with malware, was detected almost 7 million times in the fourth quarter of 2012. People seeking free or discounted software, movies or games online increase the risk of encountering this type of threat. Antivirus can help protect against it

Despite the benefits of Antivirus, many people do not realize they are unprotected. There are a number of reasons 2.5 out of 10 computers are unprotected:

• A trial period has expired or the software is out of date.

• The Antivirus was disabled by malware.

• People may not realize the importance of Antivirus so they do not install it.

To find out if people are using valid and up-to-date Antivirus, Microsoft recommends they go to their system control panels to check their computers’ security settings. If they do not have Antivirus installed, they can download it from a trusted vendor. If they have Windows 8, then Microsoft’s Antivirus is installed.

“Regardless of whether you use a free or paid-for solution, the importance of Antivirus cannot be overstated,” Rains said. “By taking the proper measures to protect your computer, including the most basic step of installing Antivirus, you can dramatically reduce your risk of becoming a victim.”

Microsoft releases the SIR twice a year to inform the public about the most prevalent global threats so they can protect themselves and their organizations. SIRv14 includes data from the second half of 2012 and contains threat intelligence from more than 1 billion computers worldwide.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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