The Irish prove their rebellious nature online

1 in 3 Irishmen regularly exposes himself, 5% of Dubliners don’t use any protection, but Irish women are less likely to spread infection.

Well, the real subheading was actually meant to read “Too many Irish skip their Antivirus’ warnings, according to latest ESET Ireland’s survey about computer security”…but we just couldn’t resist. The topic, unfortunately as is the case with most we do, is a more serious one.

When an antivirus’ message pops up, do you do what it says or ignore it? Do you visit web pages flagged as dangerous by the antivirus? Do you run programs the antivirus recognises as dangerous? These are the sort of questions ESET Ireland ( asked Irish computer users in their latest computer security survey carried out by Amarách research.

The results were a bit shocking, as 34% of the surveyed computer users ignore the alerts their antivirus shows them. Furthermore, according to detailed demographic statistics:

  • the worst behaviour is displayed by a young male from the Dublin area
    (54% of age group 15-24, 35% of males and 41% in Dublin ignore warnings),
  • while the safest is displayed by a female over 55 from Connaught or Ulster
    (only 23% of age group 55+, 33% of females, and 31% in the north ignore warnings)
  • also concerning is the fact that 4% of the Irish don’t use any antivirus software.
    (8% of the young and 5% of Dubliners)

The data collected in the survey suggests that 1,2 Million Irish computer users may infect their computers intentionally. While women are proving more careful, a large percentage of young men won’t be told what to do and will click on anything they please. Even if just 10% actually get infected, that still means 120,000 potential infections in regular intervals. This sort of behaviour results in thousands of lost documents, computer reinstallations, frustration and many wasted work hours.

“The relation between risk factor and demographics implies that the more someone considers themselves an experienced computer user or feels ‘they know what they are doing’, which certainly would be the case with young urban males, the more they are willing to take the chance of getting infected, just to run that program or view that website they wanted, no matter how risky it could be,” comments Urban Schrott, security analyst at ESET Ireland, “It may seem like a paradox, but less computer savvy users are treating security much more carefully. Because, unfortunately, no matter how good your antivirus program is, it serves little purpose if you ignore its warnings or reverse its security protocols.”

Antivirus software often relies on computer users to allow or disallow certain things from occurring on the computer. But while making the wrong decision could be potentially troublesome, it is people who turn their antivirus completely off, while it is trying to protect them from infection, that we find hard to understand. Urban Schrott elaborated on this topic less than two months ago in a blog titled “Push a fork into the socket to see who’s viewing your profile”

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Additional Resources

The overall survey results (click on image for full size picture):

And some of ESET experts’ previous articles dealing with security practices and avoiding being the weakest link:

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