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Free antivirus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world

You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes

Users who don't update their antivirus may as well uninstall it according to infection rate statistics published by Microsoft.

Redmond said in the seventeenth installment of its Security Intelligence Report that machines with outdated, deactivated or expired anti-virus platforms were just as prone to infection as those without the security measure.

Those with anti-malware activated and updated were about four times less likely to infect their boxes, the report found using data gleaned from its Malicious Software Removal Tool.

"People may believe that an anti-malware product is still protecting them even if it hasn't downloaded updates in a while," Microsoft said. "The data says otherwise."

Two unnamed vendors were behind 87.9 percent of expired anti-virus subscriptions, largely because the software was foisted on users as bloatware on new machines.

Machines connected to Active Directory Domain Services, typically inside businesses, often had far higher rates of antivirus activation compared to consumers.

Report authors suggested many subscriptions expired in March as computers purchased as gifts last Christmas reached the end of free trials.

The US dominated the malware top 10 infection list, followed by Brazil and Russia. The United Kingdom claimed the last spot with an "unusual" number of infections from Win32/AddLyrics, Win32/Feven and the JS/Axpergle exploit family.

The report further found high-severity vulnerabilities accounted for nearly a third of all disclosures reported in the first and second quarters of this year. ®

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