It is fairly common sense to assume that a reasonable presence of anti-malware software on a computer benefits data security and defends its user from data theft.
A new study conducted by scientists at Michigan State University claims that more extensive and complete protection can substantially reduce the threat of data theft. Those users who are running antivirus, anti-adware and anti-spyware software reduce the risk of credit card information theft by 50 percent.
“When you think about antivirus software protecting you, you might think about it keeping your files safe and not losing your music and photos,” said Thomas Holt, MSU associate professor of criminal justice and lead researcher on the project. “The important thing we’re finding here is that it’s not just about protecting your files, but also about protecting you economically – about reducing your chances of being a victim of identity theft.”
About 15 percent of more than 600 respondents in a survey said that they experienced some form of computer-related identity theft over the past year. Males were more likely to be victims than females and those users who engaged in downloading pirated music as well as pornographic images were a greater risk to be attacked.
Holt, however, noted that “you have a much better chance of not getting your credit card number stolen if you have all three forms of protective software."