November 12, 2008

Webroot(R) Research Finding: Consumers Face Serious Risk of Losing Digital Files Stored on Their Home Computers

BOULDER, Colo., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Webroot, a leading provider of security solutions for the consumer, enterprise and SMB markets, today released its latest research report, "State of Internet Security: Protecting Your Digital Life." The report reveals PC users are storing vast amounts of personal, professional and financial data on their home computers -- and 46 million users lost some, if not all, of their valuable data last year because it was left vulnerable to hardware failure, software corruption and human error.

"Based on our research, nearly 90 people per minute experienced some loss of personal data last year," said Webroot Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Desktop Business Unit Paul Lipman. "The focus of PC security has traditionally been on protecting the computer, and not the data stored on it. But it's the precious personal files -- digital photos, music and financial records -- that cannot be replaced if they are lost."

According to the Webroot report, the average home PC user has nearly 2,000 digital photos and nearly 2,500 digital music files on their computer. Loss of family photos was the number one concern reported, followed by loss of financial information, text documents and work projects.

"The average number of digital photos stored is roughly equivalent to taking a picture everyday for five years. If those files were suddenly destroyed, that is a lot of personal memories that could be lost," added Lipman. "But equally concerning was the finding that more than half the people we surveyed store financial records on their PCs, many with absolutely no data recovery safeguards in place."

Although 98 percent of PC users surveyed have antivirus protection on their computers and 95 percent use firewall protection, few have safeguards in place for their data. Only 18 percent currently back up data on a regular basis and nearly one in five had never backed up their personal files. The primary reasons cited for not backing up were forgetting that it doesn't happen automatically and that it takes too long.

   Key Findings    A Global Snapshot of Data Loss   --  Webroot's research shows that every day last year at least 126,000       people in the United States and United Kingdom lost files stored on       their PCs. That's the equivalent of the entire city of Hartford,       Connecticut   --  Nearly half of all PC users (43 percent) have lost digital files or       data at some point in their lives       --  One in five have lost files in the last two years       --  One in 10 have lost files in the last nine months alone   --  More than 80 percent of all incidents were caused by hardware failure,       human error and software corruption   --  Theft is responsible for approximately 9 percent of data loss and       natural disasters account for 3 percent     Home PCs Store Vast Amounts of Data   --  More than 90 percent of people keep photos on their computers, with an       average of 1,788 pictures stored - the equivalent of nearly five       years' worth of photos.   --  Almost 70 percent surveyed store an average of 2,420 songs,       translating to over $2,400 worth of music at $1 per song, or about 125       hours of time spent downloading CDs   --  Over half reported storing financial information on their personal       computers   --  Nearly three-quarters store work projects on their home PCs     Current Protection Is Not Enough   --  98 percent of PC users have antivirus protection on their home       computers, 93 percent have antispyware protection and 95 percent have       firewall security   --  Despite these measures, 46 million people in the United States and the       United Kingdom lost personal files stored on their PCs in 2007 alone   --  Only 6 percent surveyed protect their files daily from loss   --  Twenty percent have never backed up the data on their personal       computers     Tips for Protecting Valuable Files  

In order to keep your photos, music and other valuable data safe, Webroot recommends the following:

   1. Install security software. Viruses and other online threats can corrupt      your files and cause system damage or failure. Make sure you have      up-to-date antispyware, antivirus and firewall protection.   2. Use automatic online backup. Despite the best intentions, research      shows that most people will forget to back up their data on a regular      basis. Look for an online backup program that provides a "set it and      forget it "solution by automatically backing up your files everyday.   3. Free isn't better. Don't rely on free sites to archive your digital      photos. Some have policies of deleting pictures if you don't access      your account within a set time period.   4. Backup your laptop and mobile devices. Many people protect data on      their primary computers but forget about laptops and other mobile      devices. These carry a greater risk of loss and theft, so take extra      care to back them up.   5. Avoid actions that put data at risk. Don't open attachments from      strangers, avoid questionable Web sites and only download software from      sites you trust.    

The complete "State of Internet Security: Protecting Your Digital Life" report is available at ife.pdf

The State of Internet Security report is issued quarterly as an in-depth review and analysis of the most critical computer and data security-related concerns. Each report focuses on a specific aspect of information security, and provides industry data, trends and best practices in light of the threat landscape.

In the "State of Internet Security: Protecting Your Digital Life" report, Webroot surveyed approximately 1,200 PC users in the United States and United Kingdom.


Webroot Software, Inc. provides industry leading security software for consumers, enterprises and small and medium businesses worldwide. Globally recognized for its award-winning Spy Sweeper(R) line of antispyware, Webroot security software consistently receives top review ratings by respected third-party experts and has been adopted by millions globally. Webroot AntiVirus with AntiSpyware provides complete protection against viruses, spyware, data theft and hackers. Webroot Parental Controls offers powerful and easy to use protection to keep kids safe online. Webroot Window Washer(R) software eliminates all traces of PC and Internet activity. Webroot products can be found at and on the shelves of leading retailers worldwide. To find out more visit or call 1-800-772-9383.

(C)2008 Webroot Software, Inc. All rights reserved. Webroot, Spy Sweeper, and Window Washer are registered trademarks or trademarks of Webroot Software, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Webroot Software, Inc.

CONTACT: Robert Berger of Webroot Software, Inc., +1-303-442-3813, ext.153, [email protected]; or Elaine N. Schoch of 104 West Partners,+1-720-407-6064, [email protected], for Webroot Software, Inc.

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