G Data Software has released a global survey that shows PC users are in the dark about the reality of today’s malware threats. G Data surveyed nearly 16,000 PC users worldwide, including more than 5,500 Americans, and found that risky behavior and misconceptions are rampant online.
Here are some of the key findings:
· More than 50% of Americans regularly click on links on social networks – the most common way that malware is spread today. And nearly all Americans think they’ll know if they’ve become infected through PC crashes, slowdowns, etc. But today’s stealthy malware usually infects without detection, so that hackers can surreptitiously steal your information without sounding off any alarms.
· What’s more dangerous porn or ponies? More than 40% of Americans think porn sites are more risky than horseback riding sites. In reality, however, hobby sites are usually easier to attack than adult sites. Hobby sites are also much slower in removing malware — and with visitors not being careful on these sites — they pose a greater infection risk than adult sites, where visitors expect danger.
· More than half of Americans still believe most malware is spread via email, even though spam malware infections are steadily declining. 80% of Americans believe if they don’t open an infected file, they are safe.
· Nearly 88% of Americans report using security software to protect their PCs, with 46% using paid software and 42.7% relying on free versions. The U.K. had the highest number of users with a security solution installed (94%), while Russia had the lowest (83%). Even though no free antivirus product currently offers full-suite protection (including anti-spam, web filters, firewalls, etc), 82% of Americans believe that free software is as good as paid.