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!

Or
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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

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.

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?