Spyware Infection Rates On The Rise

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 1:19 pm

Spyware infection rates have risen to the highest levels since 2004 when the Internet security scourge was at its supposed peak, according to the latest State of Spyware report issued today by Webroot Software, the leading anti-spyware developer.

During the second quarter of 2006, Webroot researchers found that 89 percent of consumer PCs were infected with an average of 30 pieces of spyware — a slight increase from the first quarter of 2006 when infection rates returned to alarmingly high levels after a supposed lull in spyware infections during the second half of 2005. According to the report, new distribution channels, advanced spyware technologies and a reliance on free anti-spyware programs are all contributing factors to the startling increase.

In the report, Webroot details how spyware purveyors are capitalizing on the popularity of social networking sites like MySpace to reach new victims while spammers have recognized the extra profitability offered by adding spyware programs to their email scams. Spyware criminals are also flooding the Internet with an increased number of malicious spyware websites in hopes of garnering new victims. Using Phileas V, the next generation of Webroot’s automated spyware research system, Webroot to date has identified 527,136 malicious websites. This number marks a substantial increase during the last quarter as the number of identified websites at the close of the first quarter of 2006 was 427,000.

At the same time, spyware criminals continue to rely on the most advanced spyware technologies to reel in new victims. With many PC users still relying on free anti-spyware programs, spyware purveyors are able to easily avoid detection using advanced spyware programs like rootkits, Trojan downloaders, keyloggers and driver-level installers. During the last quarter alone, Webroot saw the infection rate of Trojans among consumer PCs rise to 31 percent — up from 29 percent during the first quarter of 2006 and 24 percent during the last quarter of 2005. Additionally, Webroot found more than 1 million traces of the most prevalent Trojan, Trojan-Downloader-Zlob during the second quarter.

Webroot also found that spyware is reaching the farthest parts of the world and across each continent. During the second quarter of 2006, Puerto Rico had the highest number of spies detected: 42.6 per scanned PC. Algeria and Bahrain also had high infection rates with 38.4 per scanned PC and 35.7, respectively. For the most malicious threats, the Dominican Republic had the highest infection rates for Trojans at 1,099 per 1,000 PCs scanned and Yemen had the highest rate of system monitors with 426 per 1,000 PCs scanned.


One Response to “Spyware Infection Rates On The Rise”

  1. Spybot Says:

    Spyware and malware, apart from recording from recording your personal information, slow down your system; keyloggers are used to steal passwords, credit card numbers and the like, and hijacker software are used to take control of your computer. If threats like these are left unattended, they can cause havoc in your life (imagine your credit card information getting stolen; imagine someone grabbing your Yahoo mail password and then sending out malicious mails to all your contacts – the whole scenario is frightening!)

    Great Information….

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