Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Shock State of Spyware Report

Webroot released on Tuesday its second quarterly State of Spyware Report that shows enterprise computers are not winning the battle against malware penetration. The report concludes that uncleaned spyware infections are festering in corporate networks and are letting in even more malware. According to the spyware report, more than 80 percent of enterprise desktops are infected with spyware. That report also found that the number of spyware traces in the wild has doubled and that possible spyware distribution sites have quadrupled since the last quarterly report was released.

On average, enterprise PCs have 27 pieces of spyware on their hard drives, a 19 percent increase in the last quarter alone, while a whopping 80 percent of corporate computers host at least one instance of unwanted software, whether that's adware, spyware, or a Trojan horse.

More concerning, evidence is accumulating that spyware is becoming more malicious than ever. Spyware makers are not satisfied with making their seven cents a click by flooding systems with adware; now they're focusing on identity theft, sometimes from within an organization. Spyware's being used by insiders to, in essence, hack their employer or boss. Instances of such activity during the second quarter included a scandal in Israel and a stymied multi-million dollar bank robbery in the U.K. that was based on spyware.

In a recent Harris Interactive Survey commissioned by Websense in June 2005, Spyware was the leading cause of security problems in the past year, voted by 65% of respondents, ahead of "Employee use of bandwidth clogging applications" at 42%, "Employee use of unlicenced/unsanctioned software" at 39% and finally "Phishing Attacks" at 32%.
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