Research reveals an average of 28 pieces of spyware per computer,and half of spam filled with activity-tracking beacons.
The average computer houses roughly 28 items of monitoring software, unbeknownst to the user, according to Internet service provider Earthlink and Webroot Software. The study was released just in time for the FTC's Spyware [define] Workshop on April 19 in Washington, DC.
The findings come from a collaborative SpyAudit report that analyzed Scans of PCs during the first quarter of 2004, revealing more than 29.5 million instances of spyware. While the majority of infiltrations are benign forms of adware, there are roughly 185,000 cases each of system monitors and Trojan horses [define].
|SpyAudit, Jan. 1 to Mar. 31, 2004|
|Total Number of SpyAudit Scans:||1,062,756|
|Total Instances of Spyware Found:||29,540,618|
|Instances of Spyware per Scanned PC:||27.8|
|Adware Installations on Scanned PCs:||5,344,355|
|Adware Cookie Installations on Scanned PCs:||23,826,785|
|System Monitor Installations on Scanned PCs:||184,559|
|Trojan Installations on Scanned PCs:||184,919|
|Source: Earthlink and Webroot Software|
The spyware issue has been getting attention both on the federal and state levels, where legislators are considering legislation that would restrict the invasive practices. But some Internet companies believe the statutes are too restrictive. Adware company WhenU filed suit against Utah, claiming that the state's anti-spyware statute is unconstitutional.
Internet users are also under siege from "Web beacons" [define]. Traditionally used by legitimate Web marketers, these email tags are now being heavily adopted by spammers. According to email defense Solutions company MX Logic, Inc., nearly half of unwanted messages contain these beacons, which spammers use to validate email addresses and detect activity.
MX Logic analyzed that email messages that were identified as spam by its filters and by customer quarantines from the prior 12 month period, resulting in a sample size of nearly one billion emails. Through this process, the company determined which bugged messages were considered spam.
Typically, Web beacons, or "bugs," are quite common in email since e-marketers rely on them to provide results of email campaigns. "We see Web beacons in a fair amount of messages. There are legitimate reasons for Web beacons, such as tracking activity, measuring click-through rates, inserting cookies for personalization," says Scott Petry, founder and vice president of products and engineering for Postini, an email security company.
Significant portions of bulk mail messages may contain a beacon, but not all of it is unwanted or non-opt-in. Petry explains that all mass mailers -- legitimate or otherwise -- use Web beacons to report metrics and results to customers.
On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!
Want to learn more? Join us at ClickZ Live San Francisco, Aug 10-12!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, ClickZ Live brings together industry thought leaders from the largest brands and agencies to deliver the most advanced, educational digital marketing agenda. Register today and save $500!
Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.
Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.
June 10, 2015
12:00pm ET/9:00am PT