Article: The Mafia & Spyware

by dDawg


The Mafia & Spyware

The deluge of spyware festering on consumer and corporate PCs will help to spark a boom in spending on security Latest News about Security software, a new report from Framingham, Massachusettsbased IDC predicts.
Antispyware software revenues will rise from US12 million in 2003 to 305 million in 2008, with traditional antivirus software vendors, such as Norton and McAfee, competing with dedicated antispyware companies for leadership of the market, according to the study.
Spyware, also known as adware or malware, is infecting millions of computers with multiple purposes: stealing personal information, enabling identity theft, tracking users' online activity, and selling the information back to anyone willing to pay.
IDC estimates that 67 percent of all computers mostly consumer PCs have some form of spyware.
At the moment, key players in the spyware detection market include specialist vendors, such as Webroot and Computer Associatesowned PestPatrol. However, the IDC report argues that antispyware will increasingly become part of antivirus vendors' offerings.
"Currently, some antivirus software vendors are more focused on spyware than others," said IDC analyst Brian Burke. "For example, Norton has not been as focused on spyware as its rivals, such as McAfee, but it is rapidly catching up and will be bringing out a product.
Spyware is very different from viruses, he noted, and is much more difficult to eliminate because it establishes itself in a computer's registry. And different antispyware programs will not all find the same spyware when they do a scan of a computer hard drive.
"What I think will happen is that the antivirus vendors will take the lead in tackling spyware because, in the corporate market, I.T. managers have an established relationship with firms such as Norton and McAfee. They will not want anyone but a trusted vendor getting into the registry of spywareinfected machines."
The IDC report argues that the biggest threat from spyware is in the environment.
"I see a massive business opportunity for antispyware vendors," Burke said. "Spyware is not just a nuisance for consumers, but an I.T. management nightmare for corporates."
This is particularly the case in small to midsize companies, which don't have sufficient I.T. staffing resources, he said. "In some cases, infected PCs can become very slow, prompting users to keep making calls to I.T. help desks."
On the consumer side, people don't want anyone stealing their personal data through spyware that carries out keystroke logging, he said.
"But for a business, there may well be legal requirements for privacy Latest News about privacy, particularly in the financial services industry. Organized crime is now taking an interest in spyware, seeing it as a way to steal information."
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