The poll, conducted by security firm WatchGuard on the Seattle-based company's Web site in December, revealed that 66 percent of the managers and administrators surveyed thought that spyware would pose a greater threat this year than either viruses or phishing attacks.
About the same number -- 65 percent -- said that between the three threats of viruses, phishing, and spyware, their network were least protected from spyware.
Even so, the IT leaders complained that neither their company's executives nor their users understood or respected spyware's potential damage. A majority of 54 percent, for instance, said that execs were keeping their eyes on viruses as the major threat, while only 38 percent said executives were backing efforts to put spyware at the top of the security focus list for the year.
Additionally, almost three out of four IT managers said that more than half their users don't know what spyware is.