Only 20% of the computers in China is virus free :
Viruses have infected at least 80 percent of China's computers, the official China Daily newspaper said on Thursday, highlighting the vulnerability of one of the world's biggest PC and Internet markets.
The findings were the result of a six-week survey conducted by the National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center, the newspaper said.
"Only 16 percent of computer users we sampled this year reported they were free from any virus attack, while last year nearly one in three users said they suffered no computer infections," the newspaper quoted the center's chief engineer, Zhang Jian, as saying.
Half of the infected machines had suffered data losses, problems browsing the Web, or other damage, the newspaper said.
Computer viruses are small programs often sent via e-mail or hidden in other software. Once inside a computer, they can do malicious tasks like erase data or reproduce and send copies to other machines over the Internet.
However, a recent worm called "Bugbear" -- which records keystrokes makes them vulnerable to hacking attacks -- appeared not to have affected many systems in China, the newspaper said.
Only a small percentage of Chinese have access to computers and the Internet, but with a population of nearly 1.3 billion, the absolute numbers are still huge.
China added 12 million new Internet users in the first six months of this year, pushing its total to more than 45 million, official data show.