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Report: Spyware a Critical Security Threat

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Spyware has become the fourth-greatest threat to a company's enterprisenetwork security, according to a new analyst report.

International Data Corp. (IDC), a major industry analyst firm based inFramingham, Mass., reports that 67 percent of all computers are infectedwith some form of spyware. Consumer machines make up more of thatpercentage than enterprise systems.

The deluge of spyware can damage legitimate software, slow networkperformance and hinder employee productivity, according to IDC analysts.

''Today, more malicious spyware can easily infiltrate corporatefirewalls,'' says Brian Burke, research manager for Security Products atIDC. ''These programs make their way into the corporate Intranet underthe guise of less-threatening network traffic and, once in, they canwreak havoc.''

Spyware, also known as adWare, malware and scumware, is an insidious,digital infection that secretly gathers information about a person or acompany and relays it back to advertisers or hackers. Spyware can infecta computer through a virus or through the installation of new software.

Spyware aids identity theft and data corruption, and tracks users' onlineactivities without their knowledge.

According to IDC, the need to find and uninstall these pieces ofparasitic software is driving the anti-spyware market. The industryanalyst firm predicts that the market, which had $12 million revenues in2003, will skyrocket to $305 million by 2008.

More information on spyware and adware removal and prevention isavailable at IntranetJournal's Spyware Guide.

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