Malware and Mrs Malaprop: what do consumers really know about AV? (sponsor presentation)

Stephen Cobb ESET

Friends and family do it, even industry experts sometimes do it: they make inaccurate statements about malware. Some of these malapropisms and misstatements are a slip of the tongue; others reflect more worrying misconceptions about what malicious code is, what it can do, and how it spreads. This presentation reveals the results of a vendor-neutral survey of computer-using consumers who were asked a series of questions about malware in order to better understand what people actually grasp about the malware threat.

We reason that solving a problem requires an understanding of the problem. Anti-virus researchers have worked wisely and diligently over the decades to understand the inner workings of each new wave of malicious code that has infected the world's computing devices, thereby creating numerous problems - no small number of which are ongoing. The outer manifestation of those infections has also been studied in an effort to understand the part of the problem that can be summed up in the question: Why are computers still getting infected? This presentation does not propose to answer that question, but it will attempt to shed fresh light on some variables that play, one might argue, a significant role in understanding the problem:

  • What do consumers know about malware?
  • Where are they getting their knowledge?
  • To what extent do they understand concepts such as risky behaviour?
  • Do they change their behaviour after discovering an infection?

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