Most Americans believe their computers are protected against viruses and spyware, but scans found that a large number had outdated or disabled security software, according to a poll released on Monday.

Fully 87 percent of Americans polled said they had anti- virus software, 73 percent said they had a firewall and 70 percent said they had anti-spyware software, according to the survey by security software maker McAfee Inc and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

But when pollsters asked to remotely scan the respondents’ computers, the story turned out to be very different.

While 94 percent of those polled had anti-virus software, just half had updated it in the past month, the survey showed. Eighty one percent had a firewall protecting private information, but just 64 percent had enabled it. And 70 percent said they had anti-spyware software, but only 55 percent had enabled it.

continued @ [Reuters]