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Users Infect PCs with Phishing and Malware Viruses Often According to Microsoft Security Report

A new security report released by Microsoft reveals that people are responsible for most of the viruses that infect their systems.

According to the company’s Security Intelligence Report, 44.8 percent of malware attacks took place because of some error on the part of users - be it clicking on a rogue link or downloading a malware laden file.

The company also found that one of the most common ways for malware to infect a system is through phishing attacks, which are primarily sent to users via spam email. Microsoft found that most of the email messages circulating on the Internet are unwanted by users.

During the first half of 2011, an estimated 47.8 percent of phishing emails sent by scammers posed as legitimate emails from social networking platforms like Facebook, according to the report.

"IT professionals are accustomed to thinking about the technical aspects of security; however, as this report has shown, the human element has become just as important for attackers as the technical element, if not more so," as stated in the report.

"By implementing effective technical safeguards, programs, and processes designed to defend against social engineering, you can help your users avoid being taken advantage of by attackers."