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Microsoft marks anti-malware anniversary with stats

Company notes the first anniversary of Microsoft Security Essentials, its free anti-malware software, by publicizing some sobering security statistics.

Microsoft Security Essentials in action.
Microsoft Security Essentials in action. Microsoft

To mark the first anniversary of Microsoft Security Essentials, the company has released some sobering statistics it has gathered during the past year via the free anti-malware software.

According to Microsoft, Security Essentials has been installed on 31 million computers worldwide. Out of that group, 27 million users reported malware infections during the year.

The United States was the most frequently attacked country. Microsoft said that during the past year, more than 2 million U.S. machines were attacked and reported the infections to the Microsoft Malware Protection Center. The U.S. was followed by China, which had over 693,000 attacks reported to the center. Brazil and the United Kingdom took the third and fourth spots with over 586,000 attacks hitting Brazil and more than 212,000 attacks reported by U.K. users.

It's worth noting that those figures are only threats reported to Microsoft. They do not represent all the attacks that occurred in the Windows ecosystem throughout the year.

Overall, Microsoft Security Essentials detected nearly 400 million threats during the past year, Microsoft said. Security Essentials users opted to remove 366 million of those threats.

Although those figures might highlight the issues Windows users continue to have staying safe from malware infections, Microsoft was quick to point out that it believes the past year has been a success for Security Essentials. In fact, Microsoft said in a blog post that the company is doing its part to "increase security across the Windows ecosystem."

Security Essentials has enjoyed some acclaim since its release last year. CNET's review described the software as one of the "good set-it-and-forget-it security programs" and gave it four and a half out of five stars.