Skip to main content

Microsoft: Almost 25 percent of computers are still unprotected from viruses and malware

speed up windows

If your trial version of the antivirus software that came preloaded on your computer has expired, has become out-of-date, or you were hoping to do without the protection (and cost) – think again. According to Microsoft’s latest Security Intelligence Report, “computers without antivirus software are 5.5 times more likely to be infected.”


Although the majority of users got the memo to proactively protect their machines with antivirus software and possibly even setup a firewall, an average of 24 percent of computers around the world are still unprotected and therefore vulnerable to cyber attacks. There are many free options like AVG’s antivirus software available online, so there is really no excuse to not setup some sort of Internet security on every computer.

Related Videos

Just because you’re running an out-of-date version of antivirus software on your computer, doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods, either. You’re basically making your computer vulnerable to the latest malware that your software wasn’t designed to handle, but that’s a relatively easy fix. All you have to do is update your antivirus software or look to pay for a more recent version.

When your computer has no up-to-date software, it  is more susceptible to the smaller and less obvious malware (also known as trojan horse) that can help cybercriminals steal your credit card information, email contacts, or even files from your computer. Cybercriminals try to trick unsuspecting users into installing these nasty buggers onto their computers by packaging them inside unsolicited email attachments like PDFs and Word documents, which many users tend to open without first scanning them with their antivirus software. Don’t feel too bad if you’ve been fooled by these fake invoices and resumes though: Microsoft apparently removed these types of malicious files from almost 3 million computers in the last quarter of 2012 alone.

You can also inadvertently install malware on your computer when you download illegitimate software activation keys generators (to install pirated software), by visiting malicious sites and clicking on their infected links, or even downloading fake software. Onescan (fake antivirus software that was actually a virus itself) was installed on almost 3 million computers worldwide so users do get duped. After all, these scams are designed to look like they’re from legitimate brands like Microsoft and Symantec but with subtle differences that many users will overlook and follow their instructions – whether it is provide personal information or click on a link that will get their antivirus software disabled.

The best thing you can do to protect your computer from cyber attack and to prevent the threat from spreading, is install some kind of antivirus software onto your system and keep it up-to-date. That is unless you’re running Windows 8. The antivirus protection is already baked into the operating system so there is no need to install additional software.

Editors' Recommendations

Microsoft warns Windows XP stragglers: The end is nigh, malware cometh
microsoft headquarters

It sounds like Microsoft is trying to scare Windows XP users into switching to Windows 7 or Windows 8 as soon as possible.
When Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP on April 8, 2014, the company is warning users that malware and other security threats could become major concerns. One possibility includes a fear that malware developers will take future updates designed for Windows Vista and reverse engineer them to develop exploits specifically targeting Windows XP.
The latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report gives a pretty good idea of how vulnerable users are to malware attacks and infections based on what operating system they use. Those running the 32-bit version of Windows XP, according to the graph below, were found to be infected with malware most often. The rate of incidents decreased with machines that used newer versions of Microsoft Windows, with infection rates lowest on machines running the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 8.

So is there a solution that doesn't involve upgrading to the meh-inspiring Windows 8? Well, there's always Windows 7, which can be had for $100 on Newegg and will continue to receive some form of support until 2020. Full support of Windows 7 will continue to be provided by Microsoft until January 12, 2015. After that date, you'll still get basic Windows 7 updates for free, but Microsoft will cease to provide Windows 7 users with non-security hotfixes starting on April 15, 2015. In order to continue receiving them, you'll need to opt for a paid subscription. Microsoft will stop providing any form of support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020.
If you do decide to move up to Windows 7, at least you'll buy yourself six years of free support of some kind form Microsoft. If you're running Windows XP and you don't think that non-full support will cut it until 2020, consider this: Full support for Windows XP stopped on April 14, 2009.

Read more
Pirated Microsoft software funded Mexican drug cartel

And Microsoft thought its biggest problem this week was Google. According to the company’s lawyers, the sale of pirated Microsoft software has been lining the pockets of infamous Mexican drug cartel La Familia Michoacana. The money from the counterfeit copies has funded the group’s extremely illegal activity, including kidnappings and drug and weapons trafficking.

La Familia Michoacana is an elite gang in Mexico and sees a profit of $800 million annually, much in thanks to the sale of pirated and counterfeit products. Microsoft associate general counsel David Finn wrote on the company’s blog that the criminals had been distributing the illegal material “through thousands of kiosks, markets, and stores in the region.” La Familia Michoacana also demanded that vendors carrying the software met sale expectations, enforcing “a ‘form of extortion’ on locals.” Finn revealed that Office 2007 discs bearing the “FMM” logo (Familia Morelia Michoacana) of the cartel not only hurt the consumers buying them, but Microsoft’s reputation.

Read more
Save $950 on this Alienware gaming PC with an RTX 3080
The Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition Gaming Desktop, placed on a desk.

Dell continues its reign of offering some of the best gaming PC deals with a great discount on the Alienware Aurora R14 Gaming PC. It's usually priced at $2,450 but for a limited time, you can buy it for $1,500 meaning a huge saving of $950. As always with Dell deals, this one won't stick around for very long so if you're looking for a new gaming rig, you'll need to hit the buy button pretty fast. Before you do that, here's a quick rundown of what to expect from it.

Why you should buy the Alienware Aurora R14 Gaming PC
Alienware is a familiar name for anyone seeking out the best gaming PCs thanks to it knowing exactly what to do to get the most from gaming hardware. The Alienware Aurora R14 Gaming PC has an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X processor, 16GB of memory and 1TB of SSD storage. The highlight is its powerful Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card with 10GB of dedicated VRAM to ensure you can play anything you could want and all at high-quality levels. The Aurora R14 chassis includes a solid panel and air cooling with a 50% increase to internal volume so that it has quieter acoustics and better accessibility too. A toolless design means you can easily upgrade the components if you need to, not that you'll have to any time soon.

Read more