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Spyware Threats On The Increase


 

Spyware threats on the increase

In 2004, many computer security specialists claimed that the amount of spyware infections should start to drop to a marginal level. A survey performed in 2006 showed after the initial drop of spyware infections in 2005, that 2006 has brought a skyrocketing increase of infection rate.

Spyware pandemic?

According to the latest State of Spyware report issued by Webroot Software, 89 percent of PCs were infected with at least 30 spyware applications. The infection rate of Trojans increased to 31 percent compared to only 25 percent in the last quarter of 2005. There were over 1 million traces of Trojan-Downloader-Zlob infections, which means that this security threat is far more serious than anyone thought it would be.

Combined with the increasing availability of the Internet around the world, spyware can be found almost everywhere, even in the most isolated countries. What's more, these Internet users are usually much less careful and have only limited access to professional anti-spyware applications. The infection rates outside the US are at an all-time high, reaching an average of 42.6 spies detected per scanned PC in Puerto Rico and average infection rates for Trojans are 1,099 per 1,000 PCs in Dominican Republic and 426 system monitors have been found in every 1,000 PCs in Yemen.

Taken together, this data made some specialists call the current state of affairs the spyware pandemic.

Reasons for the increased amount of spyware infections

There are a few important factors that have contributed to this current situation:

*advanced spyware technologies, including rootkits, Trojan downloaders, various keyloggers and driver-level installers have rendered many freeware spyware scanners ineffective,

*new distribution channels,

*increasing amount of free anti-spyware, which often has questionable usefulness (not to mention rogue anti-spyware, which will install malware instead of removing it), together with our reliance on those types of applications

*lack of proper education, which makes customers much more vulnerable to attacks

*increased amount of malicious spyware websites (from 427,000 in the first quarter of 2006 to 527,136 in the second).

Corporate PCs are not safe

While the state of home PCs isn't pretty, the situation in corporations isn't any better. The report revealed that in the second quarter of 2006 alone there were over 40 major security breaches and that the infection rates in cases of system monitors and Trojans haven't changed. This means that anti-spyware applications used in enterprises are either inadequate or incorrectly used, adding to the spyware proliferation.

Summary

 

The Webroot Report reveals that spyware should be considered one of the most serious security problems that may cause financial losses. Today's spyware criminals care mostly about money. They often work in groups to achieve better results and they have access to advanced technologies that help them to pass through the commonly used obsolete security programs.

If users and computer security companies do not react quickly, soon all data stored on your PCs will fall prey to the unscrupulous hackers. Only those users who decide to employ state-of-art security software will be able to maintain an acceptable security level. All those who neglect buying and/or updating security software will soon learn about spyware threats the hard way, with their mail accounts hijacked, their credit card numbers stolen and their whole security compromised.



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