Computers 'less susceptible to viruses'

Computers are less susceptible to viruses and other threats than many users might think, according to a consumer watchdog.

A study by Which? Computing found that not one of five computers connected to the internet for four weeks became infected, despite figures suggesting an estimated 60,000 new malware threats occurred daily.

A computer expert used each machine to visit a list of 22 "reputable" websites ranging from to for an hour a day for four weeks.

The consumer group said it did not overload the PCs with security software, describing one as such an easy target "it was practically saying come and get me".

A Which? survey of 1,042 adults in October found 57% worried about their computer being attacked by viruses and other threats.

The poll revealed 62% worried about internet security, preventing 49% of them from banking online, 33% from shopping online and 25% from using a social networking site such as Facebook.

However, Which? stressed that security software - with free versions offering adequate protection - was essential as it only took one breach to potentially wipe a PC's data.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: "While there are scammers out there looking to attack your computer, you're safer than you may think online - as long as you're adequately protected with anti-virus software.

"You don't have to pay a penny for this protection either."