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Risk

2/29/2008
04:50 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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F-Secure Survey Shows Misplaced Security Confidence

A new computer-use survey from security firm F-Secure shows that the majority of more than 1,000 respondents understands the importance of updating virus definitions. Yet less than 20 percent understood the need for frequent definition updates.

A new computer-use survey from security firm F-Secure shows that the majority of more than 1,000 respondents understands the importance of updating virus definitions. Yet less than 20 percent understood the need for frequent definition updates.The F-Secure Online Wellbeing Survey found that more than 90 percent of the North American and European respondents had security software installed on the computers.

But 76 percent of the participants felt confident that their anti-virusware would protect their computers from infection, while only 19 percent understood that virus definitions need to be checked/updated daily (at least.)

The disconnect reflects one of the largest security issues facing small and midsize businesses (and bigbiz, and consumers and everybody else, for that matter) -- the failure to understand the constant threat/constantly evolving threat environment in which we work, play and surf.

While F-Secure's purpose in underwriting the third-party survey is to help market its security services, as well as to offer a picture of the (over)confidence level of many computer users, the underlying message of ongoing computer-user naivet or outright ignorance, sometimes willfully so) should get equal attention from every one of us.

Until our colleagues and employees (and everyone else who calls on us for help because we "understand computers") come to understand, at the very least, for themselves that the Net, e-mail, downloads and all the rest of it is filled with very large threats that can change hourly, the confidence/safety gap is unlikely to narrow.

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