Feeds

US tops poll of spyware purveyors

Malware disties get Dirrty

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Spyware purveyors are expanding their distribution channels and adopting new tactics in a bid to cash-in by infesting more PCs with parasitic malware. The majority of spyware is coming from the US, with Poland coming in second and the Netherlands third, according to a study by anti-spyware software developer, Webroot Software.

Legislation against spyware is now pending in 19 states and four bills affecting spyware are pending at the federal level. Technology countermeasures are also becoming more common but Webroot's report argues that spyware developers are fighting back in a bid to preserve their business.

Webroot's State of Spyware report states that spyware is becoming more sophisticated (the use of packing and encryption techniques are becoming more common, for example) in a bid to elude detection and removal efforts. The number of websites distributing spyware has quadrupled since the beginning of 2005 to 300,000 unique URLs as spyware purveyors grow their distribution channels and enter new markets. Meanwhile the number of spyware traces in Webroot's spyware definition database has doubled to over 100,000 since the start of the year.

"Unlike virus writers who are motivated by personal pride or a desire for notoriety, spyware purveyors are motivated by profit – whether it’s a penny per pop-up or a keylogger that captures valuable account information," said C. David Moll, chief exec of Webroot Software. "Our research shows that like any business, spyware developers are committed to increasing their profit margins by expanding their distribution channels, utilising new products and entering new markets."

Four in five (80 per cent) of consumer and corporate PCs are infected with spyware, according to Webroot. Consumer PCs have an average of 25.4 instances of spyware per scan but since Webroot includes relatively benign cookies as well as Trojans in this same category these figures ought to be approached with some caution. The raw data behind the latest edition of Webroot's quarterly report comes largely from its consumer and corporate SpyAudit scanning tools and from online research culled by Phileas, Webroot’s automated spyware research system. This data allows Webroot to compile a list of the ten most significant spyware and adware threats. Once again the infamous CoolWebSearch malware tops this rogues gallery. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.