Fighting back against spyware

Wednesday, 28 April 2004, 10:39 AM EST

Microsoft estimates spyware is responsible for half of all PC crashes. Dell says 12% of its tech-support calls involve spyware, a problem that has increased substantially in recent months. Scans of one million Internet-connected PCs, conducted last quarter by Internet service-provider EarthLink Inc. and desktop-privacy and -security vendor Webroot Software Inc., found an average of 28 spyware applications running on each PC and more than 300,000 programs at large that can steal data and give hackers access to computers.

Much like spam E-mail, spyware and its resultant problems are becoming serious. These small applications are planted on a PC by some software programs, Web sites, and E-mail messages and can track a Web surfer's every online move. Criminals or dishonest businesses can use spyware to capture keystrokes and copy personal data from hard drives and transmit it to the people behind the eavesdropping.

By George V. Hulme at Security Pipeline.

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