Computer users are still demonstrating widespread indifference to measures designed to prevent malware infections.
A survey by PC Tools found that 80 per cent of respondents had been hit by an online attack despite claiming a high level of awareness of online security and the requisite security products.
Nearly all respondents were aware of the threats posed by social networking sites, spam emails, viruses and spyware, but half admitted that they continue to download and share files regardless.
"PC Tools' website visitors are aware and, in most cases, well informed of the risks," said Simon Clausen, chief executive at PC Tools.
"But the survey suggests that we can expect a significantly greater problem among the general public who continue to expose themselves to financial loss and identity theft."
PC Tools believes that the industry must approach computer security and cyber-crime from an educational perspective, but warned that consumers need to want to be educated.
"All too often it takes an incidence of an attack involving identity theft or monetary loss for it to effect real behavioural change," said Clausen.
PC Tools urged users who insist on file sharing or other risky online activities to deploy real-time behavioural-based protection.
However, nearly three quarters of UK respondents have real-time blocking protection, and half scan their computers for spyware and viruses every week and 38 per cent do so daily.
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