Spyware Web Sites Quadruple in Past Year

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The number of Web sites distributing malicious software has quadrupled in the last year to more than 300,000, as the spyware problem continues to fester on the Internet, according to an upcoming report from Webroot , an antispyware software company.

Webroot Software Inc.'s State of Spyware Report for the second quarter of 2005, claims that 80 percent of enterprise computers are infected with some kind of adware or spyware. Rates of infections of malicious programs such as Trojan horse and keylogging software did not decrease between the first and second quarter, despite more awareness of the danger of spyware.

The report comes as the online criminal groups that are responsible for spyware switch from pay-per-click advertising to identity theft as a way to profit from their activities, said Richard Stiennon, vice president of threat research at Webroot.

The State of Spyware Report presents the results of spyware scans of almost 60,000 systems at 20,000 companies, Webroot said.

The average number of spyware infections on computers increased almost 20 percent to 27 per machine since the last quarter, despite more public awareness of the spyware problem and the availability of a number of new tools for detecting and removing spyware from infected computers, Stiennon said.

The reason may be that spyware makers are wising up to detection tools such as Microsoft Corp.'s Antispyware and Webroot's Spy Sweeper, Stiennon said.

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