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Adware And Spyware On A Rapid Increase

McAfee, leader in intrusion prevention programs states that the presence of undesirable message and spam mails on the Internet is multiplying in huge proportions.

McAfee has introduced a paper by McAfee Avert Labs titled, "Adware and Spyware: Unraveling the Financial Web'. The paper explains the reasons that are responsible for continuous growth of spyware and adware, their existence and the criminals who produce and spread them. The paper also talks about the 200,000th malicious threat added to the company's database in July. The paper is available and can be downloaded from McAfee's website.

The research warns how 'adware' and 'spyware' vendors are disguising under the names and trademarks of legitimate and established companies. They also use these companies' websites to attack plain and simple users. In this sense spyware and adware distributors are floating legitimate websites. They install programs on others' PCs claiming them to be freeware but they are actually used to accumulate date and display harmful advertisements on targeted computers. These displays often mislead the users.

It is estimated that 'adware' and 'spyware' is growing beyond 100% every year, and hence spread most rapidly as Internet threat. This rapid spread is due to low general awareness about 'adware' and 'spyware', compared to how much people know about viruses. Users are thus less prepared against such attacks and become more victimized.

Since 2003, the number of adware groups has increased by 448 %. In May 2006, this number was found to increase beyond 700 along with 6,000 variants or more. According to Patrick Hayati, Regional Managing Director Middle East, McAfee Inc., adware and spyware have become prominent features in the Internet security ambiance since they emerged as profitable online marketing business elements and with the ease that they spread widely. He also adds that from 2003 to 2006 the increase in the number of adware families demonstrate how sharply this increase has occurred over the past years making a dominant threat in the security environment.

Another survey found that almost all Internet users failed to differentiate between safe and unsafe sites implying that they are too close to downloading potentially harmful programs.

Related article: Adware & Spyware Are Deep-Rooted Malware

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