It probably comes as no surprise that the spyware and adware scourge is only getting worse. However, a new study by Webroot Software reveals the full magnitude of the problem affecting a large proportion of enterprise PCs.
Calling the problem a global pandemic, Webroot notes that 48% of enterprise PCs are infected with adware. Although the actual percentage of infected PCs has, according to Webroot, has remained roughly stable, the scale of the infections has grown. The company found that the average enterprise PC had 3.9 adware infections in the third quarter of this year, up from 3.6 in the previous quarter.
"System monitors and Trojan horses pose the most significant threat for online users, especially for enterprises," Webroot CEO C. David Moll said in a statement. "Spyware purveyors use these types of spyware to infiltrate a network or an individual PC to steal the very data that corporations work hardest to protect -- customers' financial records, for example."
Apart from the very real peril of information and identity theft and the security risks posed by adware borne Trojans, this kind of malicious code can compromise PC and network functions, and require the investment of IT resources to deal with the problems. Some 97% of the IT security professionals Webroot surveyed expressed concern that spyware could compromise the security of sensitive company information. Not surprisingly, enterprises view adware and spyware as a significant security issue, though enterprises have been slow to install anti-spyware tools.
According to Webroot, 98% of respondents identified spyware as a security threat. More than two thirds of respondents consider it to be a serious threat, and 80% said that the spyware that installs Trojans and keyloggers is an immediate threat to their organizations.