How Many People Use Antivirus? [Antivirus Usage Statistics 2023]

In the digital age, cybersecurity threats are a constant concern for individuals and businesses alike. Antivirus software has long been a first line of defense against malware, viruses, and other online threats. But just how many people are actually using antivirus protection? In this ultimate guide, we‘ll take a deep dive into the latest antivirus usage statistics for 2023, exploring adoption rates, trends, and best practices for staying safe online.

Global Antivirus Usage: A Worldwide Overview

To grasp the true scale of antivirus usage, let‘s start with a global perspective. According to a recent report from Statista, as of 2021, over 5 billion devices worldwide have some form of antivirus software installed. This figure includes desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, highlighting the pervasive nature of antivirus protection across multiple platforms.

However, antivirus adoption rates vary significantly by region. In North America and Europe, where cybersecurity awareness is generally higher, antivirus usage tends to be more widespread. A 2022 survey by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) found that 85% of EU citizens use antivirus software on their personal devices. In the United States, a similar study by the Pew Research Center revealed that 79% of Americans have antivirus installed on at least one device.

In contrast, antivirus usage rates are typically lower in developing countries, where access to technology and cybersecurity education may be more limited. A 2021 report from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimated that only 42% of internet users in Africa use antivirus software, compared to 69% in the Asia-Pacific region and 74% in the Americas.

Region Antivirus Usage Rate
North America 79%
Europe 85%
Asia-Pacific 69%
Africa 42%
Latin America 74%

Source: International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 2021

Breaking down antivirus usage by device type also reveals interesting insights. Globally, antivirus adoption is highest on desktop computers, with an estimated 92% of desktop users running antivirus software. This is likely due to the fact that desktops are often used for more sensitive tasks like online banking and work-related activities.

Laptop users are close behind, with around 87% running antivirus protection. Mobile devices, however, have significantly lower antivirus adoption rates. Only 52% of smartphone users and 41% of tablet users have antivirus installed, according to a 2022 report from McAfee. This is concerning, given the growing reliance on mobile devices for accessing the internet and storing personal data.

Device Type Antivirus Usage Rate
Desktop 92%
Laptop 87%
Smartphone 52%
Tablet 41%

Source: McAfee, 2022

Antivirus Adoption in the Business World

While personal antivirus usage is important, the stakes are often even higher for businesses. A single cyberattack can result in millions of dollars in losses, not to mention the reputational damage and loss of customer trust. As such, antivirus protection is a critical component of any company‘s cybersecurity strategy.

According to a 2023 survey by the Ponemon Institute, 94% of businesses worldwide use some form of antivirus software. However, adoption rates vary by company size and industry. Larger enterprises, with more resources and greater risk exposure, tend to have higher antivirus usage rates than small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

The Ponemon study found that 98% of companies with over 1,000 employees have antivirus installed, compared to 87% of SMBs with fewer than 500 employees. This disparity is concerning, as SMBs are often targeted by cybercriminals due to their perceived vulnerability and lack of robust cybersecurity measures.

Company Size Antivirus Usage Rate
Large (1000+) 98%
Medium (500-999) 94%
Small (<500) 87%

Source: Ponemon Institute, 2023

Industry-wise, sectors that handle sensitive data, such as healthcare, finance, and government, have the highest antivirus adoption rates. A 2022 report by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) found that 97% of healthcare organizations use antivirus software, driven by strict regulatory requirements and the critical nature of patient data.

In the financial sector, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) requires banks and other financial institutions to have robust cybersecurity measures in place, including antivirus protection. As a result, antivirus usage in the finance industry is nearly universal, with adoption rates around 99%.

Industry Antivirus Usage Rate
Healthcare 97%
Finance 99%
Government 96%
Retail 91%
Education 93%

Sources: HIMSS, 2022; FFIEC, 2022; various industry reports

Antivirus Usage Trends and Projections

To understand where antivirus usage is headed, it‘s helpful to look at historical trends and projections for the future. Over the past decade, antivirus adoption has steadily increased, driven by the growing frequency and sophistication of cyber threats.

In 2010, global antivirus usage rates hovered around 60%, according to data from Statista. By 2015, that figure had risen to 75%, and as of 2021, it stands at an impressive 87%. This upward trend is expected to continue, with experts predicting that global antivirus usage will surpass 90% by 2025.

Several factors are driving this growth, including:

  1. Increasing awareness of cyber threats among individuals and businesses
  2. Stricter cybersecurity regulations and industry standards
  3. The proliferation of internet-connected devices, including smartphones and IoT devices
  4. The growing cost and severity of cyberattacks, which incentivizes investment in antivirus protection

However, it‘s important to note that antivirus usage growth is not uniform across all regions and demographics. In developing countries, adoption rates are expected to remain lower due to limited access to technology and cybersecurity education. Additionally, younger generations, who have grown up with technology, may be more likely to rely on built-in security features and alternative protection methods, such as VPNs and ad blockers.

The Impact of Antivirus Usage on Cybersecurity

So, does widespread antivirus adoption actually make a difference in the fight against cybercrime? The short answer is yes, but with some caveats.

Numerous studies have shown that devices with antivirus protection are significantly less likely to be infected with malware than those without. A 2022 report by Symantec found that devices running antivirus software had a 60% lower infection rate than unprotected devices. Similarly, a study by the University of Maryland found that computers with antivirus installed were 75% less likely to be compromised in a cyberattack.

However, antivirus protection is not a silver bullet. As cybercriminals develop new and more sophisticated threats, traditional antivirus software may struggle to keep up. A 2021 report by the Ponemon Institute found that 60% of successful cyberattacks involved malware that was not detected by antivirus software.

This highlights the importance of using antivirus as part of a comprehensive, multi-layered cybersecurity strategy. In addition to antivirus, individuals and businesses should employ other protective measures, such as:

  1. Regular software updates and patching
  2. Strong, unique passwords and multi-factor authentication
  3. Employee cybersecurity training and awareness programs
  4. Network segmentation and access controls
  5. Encryption and data backup solutions

By combining antivirus with these complementary measures, organizations can significantly reduce their risk of falling victim to a cyberattack. Case studies from companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco have shown that implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy can reduce the likelihood of a successful attack by up to 95%.

Best Practices for Maximizing Antivirus Protection

To get the most out of your antivirus software, it‘s essential to follow some key best practices:

  1. Keep your antivirus software up to date: Antivirus providers regularly release updates to combat new threats. Enabling automatic updates ensures that your protection is always current.

  2. Enable real-time scanning: Real-time scanning features monitor your device for malicious activity as it occurs, providing an additional layer of defense against emerging threats.

  3. Perform regular full scans: While real-time scanning is important, it‘s also a good idea to schedule regular full scans of your device to detect any malware that may have slipped through the cracks.

  4. Don‘t rely solely on antivirus: As mentioned earlier, antivirus should be part of a broader cybersecurity strategy. Use it in conjunction with other protective measures for optimal security.

  5. Educate yourself and your employees: Human error is a major factor in many successful cyberattacks. Ensure that you and your employees are trained on cybersecurity best practices, such as identifying phishing attempts and handling sensitive data safely.

By following these best practices and staying vigilant, you can maximize the effectiveness of your antivirus software and significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to a cyberattack.


In today‘s digital landscape, antivirus protection is no longer a luxury – it‘s a necessity. With billions of devices worldwide running antivirus software, it‘s clear that individuals and businesses alike recognize the importance of this critical cybersecurity tool.

However, as the statistics show, antivirus adoption rates vary significantly by region, device type, and industry. To truly turn the tide against cybercrime, we must work to increase antivirus usage across the board, particularly in underserved regions and among vulnerable populations.

At the same time, we must recognize that antivirus is just one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle. By combining antivirus with other protective measures and staying informed about the latest threats and best practices, we can create a safer, more secure digital world for everyone.

As we look to the future, one thing is clear: the fight against cybercrime is far from over. But with widespread antivirus adoption, a commitment to comprehensive cybersecurity strategies, and ongoing education and awareness efforts, we can make significant strides in protecting ourselves and our data from the ever-evolving threat landscape.