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2011 Microsoft Computing Safety Index

2011 Microsoft Computing Safety Index

In 2011, the Microsoft Trustworthy Computing group sponsored research to study online safety behavior and computer-security tool use. Based on the research, we developed the Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI), a scoring system of more than 20 steps you can take to help protect yourself online. The more steps you take, the higher your online safety score; 100 is the highest rating possible.

The results showed that 34 was the average online safety score across the five countries surveyed (details on how to interpret Index results are included in the executive summaries, in the Read the results section of this page). This score indicates that people do take steps to help protect themselves online—but there is also opportunity to do more.

The MCSI tallies points for basic and advanced computer security behaviors such as:

  • Using a newer operating system

  • Updating antivirus and antispyware software regularly

  • Using automatic updates

  • Keeping a firewall turned on

  • Connecting to secure wireless networks

  • Limiting information-sharing

  • Creating strong passwords

Microsoft encourages you to take an abbreviated version of the MCSI survey to help safeguard your digital lifestyle.

Take the survey to find out your score.

Read the results


In 2011, researchers recruited 2,045 adults age 18 and older, with samples reflecting the age and gender mix of those who go online in Brazil, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The 2011 survey consisted of more than 20 protective steps and the average global score was 34 out of a possible 100 points.

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