The number of people being hit by viruses and hackers is growing. A new study shows that one in every three people in the United States has been affected within the last two years.

But there is good news for corporate IT and security managers.

Nearly three times as many people feel more feel secure at work than they do on their home computers, according to a report released by Edelman, a Melbourne, Fla.-based public relations company focused on the high-tech security industry. The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 American adults in mid-July, shows that 43 percent say their office computer is more secure, compared to 17 percent who said they were more secure from viruses and hackers at home.


Thirty-two percent reported that they have been impacted by a hacker or computer virus since the summer of 2001.

''This survey gives us a clearer picture of what people are thinking about when it comes to computer security,'' says Jim Burke, a senior vice president at Edelman Florida, which coordinated the survey. ''It's also interesting to see that people are feeling more secure in their Internet activities at the office. Maybe this is a result of the many technological advancements in security products over the past few years.''

The study also shows that geography matters when it comes to people feel safe from or afraid of being hit by a hacker or virus. West coast residents are more likely to feel insecure on their office computers than those in the rest of the U.S., the study shows.

But gender and income level also seem to play a role.

The Edelman study shows that the most wealthy and educated feel more vulnerable on the Internet. But who feels the most vulnerable? That would appear to be young men, who are still in or just recently graduated from college, living in the Midwest.