Free anti-virus on most computers

2012-10-01 11:10
Kaspersky Lab does analysis of malware threats at its offices in Moscow. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Kaspersky Lab does analysis of malware threats at its offices in Moscow. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Most computers are protected from malware, but the effectiveness of the protection is questionable as the overall majority of programs are free, a survey has revealed.

According to the survey by O+K research commissioned by security company Kaspersky Lab, 95% of desktops and 92% of laptops have a security solution installed, but 69% of users did not pay for the software.

Kaspersky Lab conceded that there were several free antivirus solutions on the market but argues that its commercial software offers better protection from cyber threats.

"Commercial solutions, meanwhile, offer a very different set of choices - the developers are focused on comprehensive products which include a fire wall, anti-spam and anti-phishing filters and other tools over and above basic anti-malware protection.

"It is precisely these modules, which are seldom seen in free solutions, which provide real security during common user activities - visiting websites, communicating on social networking sites and performing online financial operations," Kaspersky said.

Pirated software

An informal News24 test between the free AVG solution and Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 revealed the commercial software to be better at spotting suspicious activity on a laptop, and surprisingly, also less resource heavy when running background scans and protection.

The survey also demonstrated that a fifth of users (22%) believed that free antivirus software is the result of the developers' social responsibility and 31% believed that free software is a platform used by developers to promote commercial products.

Global piracy of digital content is a problem for authors and statistics show that the majority of programs on computers are illegal.

According to, South African computer users have a pirated software rate of about 34%.

Africa as a region though, ranks above the global average of pirated software at 58%, marginally behind Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America; and the Asia Pacific regions.

In the past, users would copy discs to pirate programs, but the growth of sharing via the web has prompted companies to use online registration keys to limit software theft.


Pirated software represents a risk to users, said the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

"Individuals who, mistakenly or otherwise, turn to auction sites and peer-to-peer networks to acquire or transfer illegal software expose themselves to everything from malware and identity theft to criminal prosecution," the BSA said.

Most new Windows-powered computers are sold with trial versions of anti-virus programs and the survey found that some users (13%) generally continued using the software, even after the trial period had expired. About 30% switched to an alternative.

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Read more on:    kaspersky lab  |  cybercrime  |  computing  |  internet

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