Microsoft's Cliff Evans has told TechRadar that educating people and not scaring them about the dangers of the internet is vital in bringing computer security to the masses.

Microsoft's bi-annual Security Intelligence Report for the first half of 2008 makes for a sobering read, with the Redmond company's research providing a glimpse at the growing problems of keeping people's computers secure.

But Cliff Evans – Microsoft's Head of Security and Privacy in the UK – insists that the report is designed to educate and not scare, and insisted that it is caution and not fear that is needed to keep users' PCs secure.

"Through the Microsoft Malicious software Removal Tool we have research from 475 million machines every month," stresses Evans.

"On top of that, 67.4 million people use Windows Defender, so that we have a very good snapshot of what is going on with security on people's computers."

Plugging holes

Evans is keen to point out that by pointing out current weaknesses in the system – including the rising problem of third-party add-ons for browsers and their like – all aids in plugging the holes and keeping people secure:

"It is our responsibility to continually battle against the people who are making malicious software and it is also our responsibility to provide guidance for people on how to stay safe.

"The report looks at the security breaches and the data we gather highlights the whole picture.

"If people have a firewall, switch on auto updates for their software and keep their antivirus software up to date, then they are taking a large step towards staying safe online.

"We want to educate people, but they should remember that there are always risks. If you are crossing the road then there is a risk, but if you take appropriate action then you should be fine.

"The benefits of being online certainly outweigh the potential problems."