Feeds

Skype: Nearly half of adults don't install software updates

They're too worried about security to upgrade security

High performance access to file storage

A new survey commissioned by Skype reveals that 40 per cent of adults do not always update their software when prompted to do so, and that 25 per cent skip software updates because they think they offer no real benefit.

The survey was offered on Skype's behalf to some 350,000 individuals in the US, UK, and Germany by internet pollster YouGov.

A quarter of the adults surveyed said they did not understand the benefits of software updates or what they were supposed to do.

About the same number said they didn't know how to check for updates, and another quarter said they'd need to be prompted to upgrade their software at least twice before they would do it.

The respondents gave various reasons for shying away from updates. Some said they expected new versions of software would have "lots of bugs" or would crash too often, while others said they thought the updates would slow down their computers.

More than a quarter of respondents said the process of updating their software just takes too long.

Skype upgrade survey results poster image

Software updates: Don't get 'em, don't want 'em, can't be bothered. (Source: Skype)

The most jaw-dropping result, however, was that 45 per cent of survey participants said they did not upgrade their software – paradoxically – because they worry about the security of their computers.

The survey results highlight the often-contentious issue of security updates for consumer software. Former Mozilla staffer Jonathan DiCarlo ignited a minor internet firestorm in early July when he spelled out the issue in a blog post:

Only after I heard from dozens of different users that the rapid release process had ruined Firefox did I finally get it through my thick skull: releasing an update is practically an act of aggression against your users. The developer perspective is "You guys are going to love this new update we've been working on!" The user perspective is "Oh god here comes another update, is there any way I can postpone the agony for a few more days?"

Thankfully, the Skype survey participants who replied that they did regularly update their software said they did so for sensible reasons. Of them, 76 per cent responded that they updated their software "to keep my computer safe and secure from viruses and hackers."

Other popular reasons for upgrading were to keeping computers free of bugs so that they crash less often, and gaining the latest features.

About half of the respondents said they installed the updates because, hey, they don't cost anything.

Skype commissioned its survey in preparation for a weeklong event it's calling International Technology Upgrade Week (ITUW), a global effort to raise consumer awareness about the importance of software updates, which kicks off on Monday.

Joining Skype in promoting the ITUW effort are Adobe, Norton, and TomTom.

"We hear you – loud and clear," writes Adobe's Wiebke Lips in a statement. "The good news is that times have changed. Especially for consumers, software updates have become much easier and much more reliable than they once were. Software vendors continuously look for ways to make the update process less cumbersome."

The companies may have a hard time convincing some customers, however. Consider the recent Symantec security update that triggered widespread reports of crashing PCs in July. (Symantec is the parent company of Norton, one of the sponsors of ITUW.) And then there was the Windows update earlier that same month that silently installed Skype onto business PCs without asking.

It appears that for all the good that the sponsors of IUTW hope to do with their campaign, a little "physician, heal thyself" may yet be in order. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.