The BBC News Website team set up an experiment designed to record how many times a normal PC is attacked during the course of a night when it’s connected to the Internet, and discovered that it is targeted up to 53 times.

The team set up a “honeypot” PC to record everything that attacked it, and found that every time it was put online, it was attacked.

On the night it was attacked 53 times, it suffered one hijack attempt that could have handed control to a hacker; two port scans to see where its vulnerabilities lay; 11 “Blaster” worm attacks that could have made the PC unusable; and 2 “Slammer” worm attacks that would have crippled an unprotected machine.

The remaining 36 attacks were fake security announcements that, if clicked on, would have downloaded spyware.

The PC went online every night for a month, and the team found that at least one attack an hour came from a serious computer bug, while at least one attack per night was an attempt to hijack the machine.

Perhaps this is unsurprising considering that there are about 200,000 malicious programs circulating out there.