Online security: Viruses hit a third of EU computers

Online security was compromised even though most users had online security software installed.

imago sportfotodienst/Newscom/File
Three members of Austria's ski federation look over a program on a laptop in Innsbruck in this October 2010 photo. Only 14 percent of Austrians' computers were infected by a virus last year, the lowest percentage of all the European Union nations.

Almost one-third of Internet users in the European Union caught a computer virus last year, while three percent lost money through online crime, EU data showed Monday.

Some 84 percent of those whose computers were infected said they had security software installed in their machines, according to the survey conducted by Eurostat, the EU's statistics office.

Viruses were most prevalent in Bulgaria, with 58 percent of Internet users affected, followed by Hungary, with 47 percent, the survey found. The safest countries were Austria, where only 14 percent of users reported a virus, and Ireland with 15 percent.

Eurostat released the data on the occasion of the annual Safer Internet Day, which is Tuesday Feb. 8. The EU co-funds the event, which happens every February in more than 60 countries across six continents.

Only 14 percent of EU households with children under the age of 16 had parental controls on their computers and five percent of adults have found children using inappropriate websites, according to the survey.

The report cautioned that since that number only included reports of children who were actually caught on these websites or interacting with potential predators, the overall number of children at harm might be higher.

Eurostat collected the data in the second half of 2010 from internet users aged between 16 and 74 in all 27 EU states as well as Norway, Croatia and Turkey.

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