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Hey you. Yes, I’m talking to you. If you’re reading this article, then chances are good that you are lax about PC security.
Why do I say that? Well, a recent study performed by Microsoft has revealed that today’s Windows users are less focused on PC security than ever before. That’s right: despite rising identity theft rates and the presence of more online information than ever before, today’s PC users just don’t seem to care about PC security.
How Microsoft’s study worked
Microsoft released the results of its study at the @Microsoft Conventions event in Washington DC in September 2013. The results were collected using the Microsoft Computer Safety Index (MCSI), which attempts to measure international consumer computer security. It’s a tiered scoring system that was first developed in 2011 and contains 20 different steps that users can take to protect themselves online. The more steps the user has taken, the higher their score will be to a maximum possible score of 100.
The average score for PC users around the world was a measly 34 points out of 100.
Unless you went to some clown college, that’s a big red ‘F’ on any test you hand in, and it’s the worst score since the scores started being collected in 2011. For what it’s worth, internet users scored 36 in 2012 and 37 in 2011, so we’ve been getting worse and worse at protecting our PCs.
Microsoft specifically cited a number of lax security measures as the reason behind the latest drop, including a lower rate of implementation for all the following security measures:
-Web browsing anti-malware filters
-Behavioral protections, like creating unique passwords for every account
That’s bad, you guys. If you’re reading this blog, you may be a step above the average PC user, but you still probably wouldn’t score 100 out of 100 on Microsoft’s security test. If you’re not using antivirus, which is basically required on Windows, or optimization programs like PC Cleaner Pro, then your computer is at serious risk of being hacked, infected, or compromised.
On the plus side, we did get better at some things. We’re using more updated operating systems, for example, and those that use antivirus software are updating that software regularly.
Interestingly enough, most people also had better PC security than they thought: before taking the security test, users were asked what they think they would score and reported an average 2.6 out of 5 when the average was, in fact, 3.7 out of 5. Go figure.
NSA spying? Malware? Social media passwords? People just don’t seem to care about these concepts in 2013. That’s good for hackers and it’s bad for most people. To view the full results of Microsoft’s study, including the results from mobile security benchmarks, click here.