In a resent article, USA Today along with Avantgarde, a San Francisco tech marketing and design firm, set up six honeypot computers, and monitored them for two weeks. This was a test to see what kind of attacks the computers would undergo while they were connected to the internet unprotected.
The machines tested were types popular with home users and small businesses. They included: four Dell desktop PCs running different configurations of the Window XP operating system, an Apple Macintosh and a Microtel Linspire, which uses the Linux operating system.
The unprotected machines, when connected to the internet, immediately began sustaining attacks to an average of about 340 per hour.
Windows PCs that had recent patches and firewall sustained about 4 attack attempts per hour.
Out of the constant barrage of attacks over the two week period, only 9 actual compromises were recorded to the unprotected Windows machines. No compromise to either the Linux system or the Mac.
Read more at USA Today
This demonstrates how important updates, antivirus, and firewalls are in today's computer enviroment.