Microsoft Security Intelligence Report v14: Why antivirus software matters

The latest volume of the Security Intelligence Report (SIR) highlights the importance of using antivirus software.

Antivirus software helps protect your computer from malicious software (malware) and can be downloaded or installed inexpensively or at no charge. Still, according to the SIR v14 findings, 24 percent of computers worldwide were not running up-to-date antivirus software, leaving them 5.5 times more likely to be infected with viruses.

Possible reasons why your computer may not be protected:

This new edition of the SIR compares infections on protected and unprotected computers, offering evidence as to how many people are not using up-to-date antivirus software and are thus facing increased risk.

If you don’t have antivirus software, Microsoft recommends that you download it now from Microsoft or from another trusted vendor. If you already have Windows 8, antivirus software is included with the operating system. You are not required to do anything to set it up. If you are using older versions of Windows, Microsoft provides a free antivirus software called Microsoft Security Essentials, which can be downloaded from our website. Many of our partners also offer antivirus software.

Data used in the SIR analysis includes (but is not limited to):

  • Threat intelligence from more than 1 billion systems in more than 100 countries and regions.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials—operating globally in more than 30 languages.
  • Malicious Software Removal Tool—downloaded and executed more than 1 billion times in the second half of 2012.
  • Billions of pages scanned by Bing each day.

Learn more about the SIR findings related to antivirus protection.

Take action to help protect your computer and reduce the risk of becoming a victim to cybercrime:

About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »

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  1. Anonymous

    Where is the link for the free ms download for the anti spyware?  I had it earlier but lost it.


  2. Anonymous

    window security center will not turn on

  3. Anonymous

    Need help installing antivirus software. Can you help me?

  4. Anonymous

    I have the program installed but the off button for the antivirus won't switch to ON, the other to prote

    ctions are in the ON position.

    Thxs Norm

  5. Anonymous

    I cant tell if the program downloaded again or is opperating at all.

  6. Anonymous

    I also have the program installed but the off button for the antivius won't switch to the on position .

  7. Anonymous

    did you find the answer to this??

  8. Anonymous

    antivirus has swtdhed off, cannot switch it back on. Does this each week, sometimes it corrects itself dont know why

  9. Anonymous

    I have ms essentail installed, but antivirus keeps turning off.  I have uninstalled and reinstalled. but still turning off. why?

  10. Anonymous

    why my desktop always shutdown? what are the good things or right way to repair my computer?

  11. Anonymous

    Security Essentials anti virus switches off . I am on automatic updates.  Should I buy a better virus protection software.

    Seems Microsoft has no answer or wi8ll not fix thyis

  12. Anonymous

    how can installed an anti virus

  13. Anonymous

    I installed Maccaffee 2 months ago. I should be protected.  Paid and accepted by them.  I have receipt and password


  14. Anonymous

    its good you know

  15. Anonymous

    Looking for free anti virus website?

  16. Anonymous

    Are there answere posted somewhere that address or answer some of these good questions, above?

  17. Anonymous

    Not to diss Anti Virus and security suites. But it has been my experience that these applications do not stop malware they simply detect it after it gets on your PC. I am not focusing on Security Essentials because I myself use it. I do however find that even the paid versions of security suite apps are not a lot better at preventing malware. In my 20 plus years using PC's. A smart user is far more important then any security suite. I have read plenty of security PC experts who admit to not using any security on their own PC's. But they also do not get malware and they do use a online security scanner frequently. They just do not install security on their PC. Food for thought.

  18. Anonymous

    How to  speed up my pc plz help me…

  19. Anonymous

    I was considering renewing my 2011 Bitdefender antivirus package in April 2013 but didn't bother. The next thing I knew was that Bitdefender had renewed my subscription and deducted £87 from my bank account without my permission. Be very careful with antivirus products; they will be automatically renewed without your knowledge and they will deduct the money form your account.

  20. Anonymous

    i have but idont know how to replace or reallocate it

  21. Anonymous

    I Have mse installed yet the flag icon is red !

  22. Anonymous

    I understand about   Microsoft concerns with controlling the market I want the easy to use campattable I use Microsoft products Please make a antivirus solfware we can buy from you!

  23. Anonymous

    Where are the answers?

  24. Anonymous

    I have Chrome Book . . . don't need MS Security,

  25. Anonymous

    I have had a problem with Windows 7 Action Center saying my Norton is off when it's actually on. There seems to be no fix for this that has worked. It's really aggravating.

  26. Anonymous

    Hey MarkL …MS have already been there and done that. It was called Microsoft Windows Live OneCare and cost $99.00 each year. MS arbitrarily dumped OneCare a few years ago, at which point, I researched many free software suppliers of similar capabilities. I selected Avast […/index ] as best suiting my needs, and since downloading that to Windows Vista OS first, and now to Windows Seven OS, I can honestly report that I have had NO PROBLEMS from any invasive security threat source. There is a need to register each year, but Avast notify users of that requirement with plenty of time to spare. Avast also have paid subscription security software with added security measures, but I have found that these are excessive to my requirements, and so I just stick with the FREE version. Updates are regular, and done automatically, and also any Version changes. I AM NOT and HAVE NEVER BEEN an employee or representative of Avast … these comments are made freely, as Avast software is too.

  27. Anonymous

    We have found Microsoft Security Essentials to be very effective – we use automatic signature updates along with automatic full system scans.

    We used to use a paid service, but we found that the lengthy and complicated procedure to validate our software license to be an incredibly frustrating waste of time. There were also concerns that the paid AV software actually slowed our systems down.

  28. Anonymous

    Had problem with my anti virus program from Kaspersky that would not do complete security scan. I was told by Kaspersky to turn off Windows defender because it was not compatible with their software. Turned defender off uninstalled Kaspersky and then reinstalled that software no problems ever since.

  29. Anonymous

    I have a multi machine license for VIPRE Internet security and I can highly recommend this security software.

  30. Anonymous

    why does my desktop always log off when im not using it? its so weird. it always happens unless you turn the radio on.

  31. Anonymous

    might be nice having sum people who care about us!!

  32. Anonymous

    Do I need a security system other than windows defender? thanks

  33. Anonymous

    in the windows security center the virus protection mode is off and I am unable to turn on. What can I do?

  34. Anonymous


  35. Anonymous

    I want to install antivirus into my PC at home.

  36. Anonymous


  37. Anonymous

    If you truly want the total package when it comes to protection, buy an updated true version of Norton & buy it where you know you are getting the real deal & no stolen version. I can attest to the fact that one of the largest financial institutions in the world uses the same package as you will buy for bout a hundred bucks a year & never again will u have to worry!

  38. Anonymous

    how can i uninstall this

  39. Anonymous

    I have Windows 8 on my new Dell, but I recommend McAfee. It has Quick Clean that helps improve your PC's performance by letting you erase unnecessary files.

  40. Anonymous

    how can I upgrade my system from WINDOS7 TO WINDOS8 on-line?

  41. Anonymous

    My firewall in antivirus has been corrupted, how can i solve this problem easily.Help me plz.

  42. Anonymous

    I have IE 8, do I still need an Anti-virus?

  43. Anonymous

    still i dnt knw d proper use of window defender…………

  44. Anonymous

    in my laptop……

    how can i install any anti virus…..

    erorr is coming……..

  45. Anonymous

    I have micosoft security essentials. it showing i'm protected but i have a red shield  and that my anti-virus is switched off.

  46. Anonymous

    I been a victim yesterday for the second time in last of 2 month's to get a money pack with a code number , insert the code before my computer will be released back to me. Is this a new shake down by pirates to steal money from us. They use Homeland Security, DOJ and all that stuff to scare you and threaten you for criminal activity on your own computer. I am lost at what I need to do! Can anyone help? There are several Trojan viruses including Recycle virus. Any experts out here in cyber-land what I need to do? I have AVG for security and since then I have nothing but problems! Thank you

  47. Anonymous

    julie , I have the same problem

  48. Anonymous

    Homeland Security has blocked me from acces to my computer. It blocked the Start up Program

  49. Anonymous

    Some software seems to suggest that it might be necessary to disable your antivirus software ' [temporarily] . I am always nervous about this idea. Does Microsoft say anywhere on its XP software (I have windows XP) how, in detail, a person does this?

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