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Spyware is costing the UK an estimated £445 million per year
- Today Webroot gathers experts to make joint industry call for action -
London, UK, October 20, 2005 – According to recent global research* conducted by Webroot Software Inc., the UK was found to have the 3rd highest rate of infections of spyware in Q3 2005 – with as many as 18 spies on an average machine. Only Thailand and the US had higher rates of infection. In addition, the leading provider of anti-spyware software found that spyware is costing the UK as much as £445 million in lost time, productivity and in computer repairs. The research will be discussed at today’s summit of experts held at the House hosted by Dr. Nick Palmer MP who will be aiming to reach a plan of action to stop this epidemic.
Dr. Nick Palmer MP said: “I’m delighted that Webroot has organised this important conference on the threat of spyware. People were worried about spam but spyware is now the bigger danger. Previous ways of computer harassment, from viruses to spam, have been countered too slowly causing endless trouble for ordinary computer users. This time we need to stay ahead of the curve.”
Spyware falls into several categories. At its most basic, spyware consists of programs that track online and offline activities, which are shared with third parties without a user’s consent. Spyware can include system monitoring tools that record everything from visited sites to chat sessions, while also including keylogger programs which capture keystroke information such as usernames, passwords and private data e.g. bank account details. The largest supply of spyware is often from commercial sources who feed advertising to unsuspecting users - spyware’s more benign cousin - adware.
The research also found that almost 55% of consumer machines are infected with adware; 21% Trojans and 5% system monitors. Adware, such as pop up adverts, costs PC users considerable time and money, and significantly slows a PC’s overall performance. Although difficult to quantify, adware can lead from as little as 10% to as much as a 90% increase in the time it takes a user to do simple tasks like booting up a machine; opening a browser or searching the Internet.
In conjunction with today’s research, Webroot is also facilitating the UK’s first dedicated spyware summit, which brings together key industry experts to discuss and debate what measures should be taken to effectively eradiate this costly problem. Summit host and chairman, Dr. Nick Palmer MP, will be leading the debate and will be joined by the High-Tech Crime Unit, British Computer Society, EURIM e-crime sub-group and more. They will also be exploring how spyware could even potentially affect the government’s own digital inclusion agenda.
Spyware plays to internet users greatest fears that their actions and data will be monitored and used to their disadvantage. It therefore undermines central government efforts to deliver services online and may harm their efforts to bridge the digital divide. Currently spyware exists in a legal grey area. In the US, legislation has been introduced in 27 states to combat spyware and the federal government is also working on new legislation. No such measures are planned for the UK, where spyware is currently being discussed under the spam agenda.
* Source – Webroot Global Research 2005
Webroot Software, Inc., is the worldwide leader in anti-spyware security solutions. A privately held company based in Boulder, Colorado, Webroot creates innovative privacy, performance and protection products and services for millions of customers around the world, ranging from large enterprises to small businesses to home users. The company's award-winning and best-in-breed Spy Sweeper product line is one of the most trusted brands in Internet security, protecting millions of PCs globally from spyware and adware. Webroot solutions are sold, integrated and serviced by a network of hundreds of partners. Webroot currently has 275 employees worldwide and is backed by some of the industry’s leading venture capital firms, including Technology Crossover Ventures, Accel Partners and Mayfield.
In addition to selling its security products online at www.webroot.com, Webroot products can be found on the shelves of leading retailers around the world, including: Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Fry's, MicroCenter, Office Depot, Staples, Target and Wal-Mart. Webroot products are also available as either branded solutions or on an OEM basis. To find out more about Webroot, visit www.webroot.com or call 1-800-772-9383.
For more information contact:
Helen Ablett/Bettina Winters/ Jaime Edmund
Grant Butler Coomber
Tel: +44 (0) 208 322 1922
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