Despite the havoc caused by the recent spate of serious virus attacks, such as the deadly Love Bug, many home and small business users are still not regularly updating their antivirus software.
According to a survey by US antivirus reseller Central Command, almost a quarter of US users do not update their antivirus software at least once a month, leaving themselves vulnerable to newly created viruses.
The survey, which was emailed to nearly half a million PC users in the US, revealed that the majority of PC users (65 per cent) had been infected with at least one virus in the last 12 months. Of these, 57 per cent had lost data as a result of the infection.
Eighteen per cent of respondents said they had lost "moderate" or "large" amounts of data, and 14 per cent said they had suffered more than five virus attacks in a year.
Steve Sundermeier, technical services manager at Central Command, said: "People who don't update to stay current with the latest virus protection are opening a huge security gap."
Users need to update their software daily so they are protected from the estimated 30 viruses that are discovered every day, he added.
Graham Cluley, senior technical consultant with UK-based antivirus company Sophos, said UK home users are equally negligent at regular updates.
"Most business users are pretty tuned on to keeping regularly updated. But many vendors have stopped sending out updates on CDs and rely on users remembering to get updates from the internet. We see new viruses everyday and users need to keep regular updates to be protected," he said.
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