Wednesday, February 06 12:12:22
A recent poll commissioned by ESET Ireland shows 45pc of Irish computer users use free antivirus on at least one of their computers, 36pc use licensed software, while the rest use a combination of products, pirated software, none at all or don't know.
A multiple answer poll conducted among 1000 Irish adults in January has revealed a few interesting things. A very positive one is that the vast majority of computers in Ireland are protected by some form of security software and only 5pc use nothing at all.
Some 3pc are reckless enough to use pirated antivirus - "which makes about as much sense as having robbers guard bank vaults," ESET said.
A slightly more worrying one is that nearly half believe that a free antivirus is equally effective in keeping their computers safe as a full security suite.
"While some free security products that can be found online are, honestly, worth less than they cost, it is true that usually free and payable versions of AV from the same vendor use the same core engine, but they don't have the same functionality and features. In most cases, they're intended as an evaluation tool. Because of the work that needs to be put into any product, if it's to be in any way effective, the developer needs to get some return on his investment. In "free" software, this is often done by installing "complementary" toolbars, utilities containing adware-like functionality, etc, where the client is monitored and served with advertisements. These add-on programs subsidise the cost of the "free" anti-virus potentially at the expense of users' privacy."
"Further demographic analysis of the poll show that women tend to be more cautious, while men more reckless in computer use. Just as many men as women admitted to using pirated software, visiting dodgy sites, ignoring their security software's warnings in previous polls, so in this one more men than women use free software (48pc), while women prefer to be safe with payable full versions (41pc). Only 1pc of females use pirated antivirus software, while 5pc of men do. Same attitude towards safety as in most previous polls is also revealed age-wise. The young group of 15-24 is the most reckless in using free (46pc) and pirated antivirus (6pc), while in the 55+ age group is safest, as no one admitted to be using pirated software while the use of free antivirus is 43pc. Geographically it is a bit more unusual. While the Dublin area had the lowest use of free software (40pc) it also had the highest level of piracy (6pc), Connaught/Ulster was the opposite. There 51pc rely on free programs, and only 2pc use pirated ones."