Most people ignore security patches, turn off firewalls – Sophos

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Boston (MA) – Most people apparently ignore security updates and turn off their firewalls, according to a new survey by the anti-malware company Sophos.  Using its free Endpoint Assessment Test, Sophos scanned 583 computers for 40 days and found that the majority of users refuse to take basic measures to protect themselves against viruses and other attacks.  In all, 81% of the computers surveyed failed one or more basic security checks.

63% of the computers were missing security patches for the operating system, office application and popular accessory programs like Windows Media Player and Adobe Flash.  51% of the users had disabled the firewall on their computers, something many ‘power users’ do to allow file sharing, games and other activities deemed inappropriate by IT administrators.  15% of the computers had out of date or disabled anti-malware security software which includes anti-virus and anti-spam applications.

Most of the computers surveyed, 39% of them, were in the United States, while 36% were in the United Kingdom.

Company IT administrators have often complained that end users undo many of the protections imposed by the company.  As a former network admin, I know the pain of having users turn off automatic updates, Norton real-time anti-virus scanning and other programs.  These same users often came to me a few weeks later complaining of an extremely slow computer because of a massive spyware or virus infection.