If you’re like many PC users, then you received free antivirus software when you first purchased your PC. Over the months, that antivirus repeatedly bothered you, begging you to upgrade to a premium subscription.
You repeatedly denied that request, and now you’re left with outdated antivirus software.
You may think, “Hey, using some antivirus software is better than using no software at all, right? Who cares if it’s expired?”
But now, a new study has shown that’s not really the case. That new study from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center has shown that using expired antivirus software has about the same risk as using no antivirus software at all.
“5.5 times more likely to be infected”
Microsoft’s research revealed that PCs with no antivirus are 5.5 times more likely to be infected compared to PCs with updated antivirus software.
Microsoft’s research also revealed that PCs with outdated, expired, or not fully up-to-date antivirus software were 5.5 times more likely to be infected.
In other words, PC users with outdated antivirus software might as well uninstall it: because it’s not helping you by sitting on your hard drive. In fact, it’s just taking up space, clogging up performance, and contributing to a false sense of security.
Check out the graph below for a visual representation of Microsoft’s research:
As you can see, Windows 8 and 8.1 systems with no protection, “turned off” protection, expired protection, and out of date protection are all given the same infection rating.
The number one reason people are unprotected is due to expired antimalware software
Microsoft’s research revealed that on Windows 8, the number one reason why users are unprotected is because their antimalware software has expired. In other words, more than 50% of all unprotected Windows 8 PCs are considered unprotected because they’re running outdated software.
Some users refuse to update their software when prompted, while others simply let the software expire when it reaches the end of its free trial period.
“People may believe that an antimalware product is still protecting them”
The main reason I’m sharing this story with you today on our PC security blog is because of the reason listed in bold above: people may still believe that an antimalware product is protecting them – even if it hasn’t downloaded updates in a while or is months out of date.
These people may be browsing the internet unaware that their PCs are unprotected.
How to protect your PC for free
If you’re one of the millions of Windows users currently using an unprotected PC, then I urge you to install one of the three free solutions:
1) Windows Defender
2) PC Cleaner Pro
3) Microsoft Security Essentials
Downloading one (or, ideally, all three) of these software programs will significantly enhance your PC’s ability to defend itself from viruses, malware, and other problems.