Spyware infections this year have hit the highest levels since 2004, security experts have warned.
An analysis of consumer PCs by anti–spyware firm Webroot found that 89% were infected with an average of 30 pieces of spyware in the second quarter of 2006 – a slight increase from the first quarter, when infection rates returned high levels after a lull in the second half of 2005.
Webroot’s automated spyware research system picked up 527,136 malicious websites in the second quarter – up more than 23% on the number identified in the first quarter of the year.
The security firm said new distribution channels, advanced spyware technologies and a reliance on free anti–spyware programs to tackle the problem were all contributory factors behind the increase.
In its quarterly analysis, Webroot said spyware purveyors were tapping into the popularity of social networking sites such as Myspace in order to reach new victims.
E-mail spammers have also been adding spyware to scam e-mails, the security firm warned.
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