Industry News

Five Times More Likely to Get Malware without AV

Computers with no antivirus are five times more likely to get infected with malware than those with protection, according to Microsoft. In the first quarter of 2012, the company found malicious e-mail attachments on almost 3 million computers and detected 7 million Keygens. The activation key generators that users install with “free” software, movies or games often come loaded with malware.

Five Times More Likely to Get Malware without AVMost users don’t have antivirus because the trial period has expired, the software is out of date or it was disabled by malware. Some may also not realize the importance of antivirus so they don’t install it in the first place.

“An antivirus or antimalware product that offers real-time protection is one of the most crucial defenses a computer user has against these and other malware distribution tactics,” Microsoft representatives said. “Unfortunately, many computers are not protected by real-time antimalware software, either because no such software has been installed, because it has expired, or because it has been disabled intentionally by the user or secretly by malware.”

The Security Intelligence Report also showed Conficker and Autorun worm infections are declining, but web attacks are on the rise. Infections with the two major worms dropped more than a third compared with the figures from 2011.

“In the last quarter of 2012, a person in the enterprise was more likely to encounter attacks through the Web than any of the network worms,” Microsoft senior program manager Holly Stewart told eWEEK.

The paper also showed Blackhole exploits were most common. Six of the top 10 exploits detected in 2012 were components of this exploit kit.

The report analyzed exploits, vulnerabilities, and malware using data from Internet services and over 600 million computers worldwide.

About the author


Bianca Stanescu, the fiercest warrior princess in the Bitdefender news palace, is a down-to-earth journalist, who's always on to a cybertrendy story. She's the industry news guru, who'll always keep a close eye on the AV movers and shakers and report their deeds from a fresh new perspective. Proud mother of one, she covers parental control topics, with a view to valiantly cutting a safe path for children through the Internet thicket. She likes to let words and facts speak for themselves.


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  • My question is this: do they consider people using the built-in Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials package to be “without antivirus”

    • Ah, I see it in the document you linked:

      “Because Windows 8 includes real-time antimalware protection by default,3 many or most unprotected Windows 8 computers may lack protection because their users have chosen to disable it.”

      So basically the built-in AV packages are part of the “protected” group.

  • Though it was to be expected, I find the difference between having and not having AV surprisingly low (in a good way). There was a time when connecting your computer to the internet without an antivirus meant being infected in a matter of minutes.
    So, somehow things have improved.
    Of course, no excuse for going out in the wild without protection!