McAfee: Brits have no clue about viruses

Computer users in Britain can't tell the difference between a computer crash and a virus attack, according to a survey by antivirus firm McAfee.com Corp.

Nearly half of us believe program and system crashes are the work of viruses and that viruses can even account for faulty Internet connections.

The study shows that 45 percent of those polled were likely to blame a program crash on a virus rather than the operating system. Nearly as many believe that a so-called blue screen of death, the fabled BSOD, is also indicative of a virus infection.

Frozen screens and lack of internet access where thought to be the result of malicious code by one in three and one in eight respectively.

"High-profile viruses like Code RED understandably trigger massive panic among home PC users who very often have little idea what sort of threat they face," explained Nick Bowman, McAfee's European marketing manager. "Viruses are a very real threat but if people take the proper precautions then they have a lot less to worry about."

Once people think they have a virus, the majority react "wholly inappropriately" by McAfee's standards -- a quarter simply panic and 12 percent email all their friends to warn them.

The survey also reveals that two thirds of users fail to understand the threat of a virus, with one third exaggerating the risk and the other third underestimating it.

This lack of understanding has been blamed, in part, on the antivirus companies themselves. After all, the less someone understands about viruses and the more scared they are of them, the more likely they are to purchase antivirus software.

But though many think the solution to virus hysteria lies in user education, Rob Rosenberger, editor of Vmyths (www.vmyths.com) disagrees. "User education attacks the symptoms of hysteria without addressing the root causes. I think we should first take on the media's fetish for juicy virus stories."

Rosenberg breaks the sources of virus hysteria into four areas - media feeding frenzies, hackers' egos, antivirus vendors' need for publicity and governments looking to get increased security budgets.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Will Head

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?