Users Say IT Falls Short In Fighting Spyware: Survey

Trend Micro report also finds that users in the U.S. are most vulnerable to the threat.

October 12, 2005

2 Min Read
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Corporate users know about spyware but a new study from Trend Micro Inc. suggests they might not know enough -- and aren't getting enough help from network administrators and IT to fight the threat.

Some 87% of users surveyed said that they were aware of spyware, but the research firm reports that almost 40% respondents from the U.S. believe that their IT departments are not doing enough to defend against it. And 53% said that they need to be better educated to understand the spyware threat.

Users in the United States appear to be more vulnerable to spyware, according to Trend Micro. While 14% of Japanese and 23% of German corporate users report that they have encountered spyware on their work systems, some 40% of American users have had the same experience. Nevertheless, spyware encounters and appreciation of the risks are not quite the same thing, the study suggests. Only 45% of respondents who had encountered it believed that their security had been compromised.

Trend Micro notes that small and midsized businesses typically encounter more spyware than large organizations, but concerns cross all sectors. Almost 40% of respondents from American organizations with IT departments, for example, believe that their IT departments are not doing enough to defend against spyware. Indeed, there appears to be widespread expectations that IT departments could do more to educate users about the risks. Some 52% of American respondents and 64% of Japanese respondents expressed this opinion.

Trend Micro vice president and chief anti-spyware technologist Ed English observes that such education is key. "The challenge of maintaining security for businesses is compounded by the tendency of end users to engage in riskier computer activities while at work," he said in a statement. "Spyware is a security issue that has now come of age, and while end users may question the effectiveness of anti-spyware solutions deployed by their IT departments, they also admit to relying heavily on IT for protection -- and many appear willing to ignore their personal responsibility of staying aware and protected through sensible online behavior."

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