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Spyware Has Become Corporate Scourge: Report

Spyware has become a serious security and IT support issue, according to a new report from Forrester Research, and enterprises are increasingly turning to anti-spyware products to help control the scourge.

According to "Antispyware adoption in 2005," the real level of infection may be difficult to gauge, since 39% of companies surveyed had no idea how many of their systems were affected. However, report author David Friedlander writes that the remaining respondents put the infection level as high as 17%. Indeed, According to Friedlander, the problem is likely to get worse, noting Forrester expects this to increase to as much as 25% within 12 months as spyware proliferates and becomes more aggressive."

Some 80% of companies surveyed have already deployed specialized tools to deal with the problem, though Friedlander notes that, for the most part, they have not done so on a systematic basis. "Tools were frequently introduced in an ad hoc manner over the past two years to fix infected PCs," Friedlander notes, "but companies are now looking to extend protection to more systems." Indeed, 65% of respondents plan to invest in new and upgraded anti-spyware tools this year.

Not surprisingly, the report finds that McAfee is the anti-spyware software market leader with a 42% share, while Lavasoft's Ad-Aware software is in a close second at 36%. Nevertheless, Friedlander predicts that there may yet be room for more players, with half of the companies that have not yet invested in anti-spyware tools planning to purchase them this year, and 65% of companies planning to buy best-of-breed products.