Central Command Releases Its Annual Computer Security Survey Results for 2002

Central Command Releases Its Annual Computer Security Survey Results for 2002 Virus protection concerns continue to increase among P2P users; Cyber-warfare likely according to respondents

MEDINA, Ohio, September 24, 2002 – Central Command, Inc., a leading provider of PC anti-virus software and computer security services announced today the findings of its annual security survey. The survey, reflecting up-to-date industry trends, was e-mailed to 943,026 PC users worldwide and explored individual’s computer security settings and behaviors with known computer security vulnerabilities. With a 7% response rate, the survey provides valuable insight on the constant battle with computer viruses.

Given the horrific events of September 11, 2001, multiple questions were given seeking user opinion on the world’s war on terror in regards to online security. The survey surprisingly showed that nearly three-fourths of the respondents felt that some form of cyber-warfare is likely to occur in the near future. In a related question, 67% strongly feel that their respective country is not yet prepared to combat against such a major threat. The top response rate came out of North America.

The results also displayed a significant increase in virus awareness. For the first time, responses showed that users are beginning to understand the importance of protecting themselves from computer viruses and other forms of malicious software (malware).

When asked about the handling of email attachments from an unknown source, the results showed that 58% of the respondents would delete the attachment immediately and 41% expressed they practiced extreme caution when viewing any attachment regardless of the sender. “These numbers mark a great improvement from a year ago. We have relentlessly preached about the risks associated with email attachments and we’re finally seeing that message sticking in users minds. Unfortunately, the lesson doesn’t end with email-based worms as other types of applications are now being targeted,” said Steven Sundermeier, product manager at Central Command, Inc. On a similar note, 29% claim to have all the latest security patches installed, up 15% from a year ago.

As file-sharing applications like KaZaA, iMesh, Napster continue to increase in popularity so does the number of malicious programs (ie. Trojans, worms) written to exploit these networks. Of the 65% of surveyed users who regularly use these types of applications, over 39% responded that they were unaware of any dangers associated with file sharing and the security holes they can open. An increase in P2P instant messaging software as the preferred form of online communication raised concern about the future of virus writing trends in these channels.

The number one reported virus, according to the survey, was Worm/Klez.E,G. Nearly one-forth of home and office PC users responding claimed Klez infected their system over the last year. One in every ten responses claimed to have had a W32/Nimda infection. “This statistic closely mirrors the number of virus occurrences confirmed through our Emergency Virus Response Team. Based on the percentage of all tracked viruses, our top five tracked viruses for the summer of 2002 included Worm/Klez.E,G (52.1%), W32/Elkern.C (13.8%), W32/Yaha.E (9.6%), Worm/W32.Sircam (5.7%), and W32/Nimda (2.4%).”

Central Command noted that over the past year infection reports, factoring out the top five infectors, have dropped 3.2% over the past year.

The full results of the survey are published on Central Command’s website at www.centralcommand.com/safesurvey2002.html.

Vexira Antivirus starts at $29.95, and a free 30-day trial version may be downloaded from (www.centralcommand.com) or obtained by contacting Central Command at +1-330 723-2062.

About Central Command: A leader in the anti-virus industry, Central Command, Inc., a privately held company, serves home PC users and industrial, financial, government, education and service firms with virus protection software, services, and information. The company services customers in over 91 countries and is headquartered in Medina, Ohio. Visit Central Command online at (www.centralcommand.com) or call 1-330-723-2062 for more information.

Central Command, EVRT, Vexira, and Emergency Virus Response Team are trademarks of Central Command, Inc. All other trademarks, trade names, and products referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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