According to internet security software company Webroot, 2005 saw a massive increase in the amount of spyware available on the internet. Webroot’s State of Spyware report found that there were about 400,000 spyware-distributing web sites in existence at the end of 2005—nearly three times as much as last year—as well as a proliferation of 120,000 detectable spyware components globally.
“This past year was a boon for spyware criminals,” said Webroot Software CEO David Moll in a statement. “Last month Webroot surveyed U.S. businesses and found that over half of respondents reported a spyware-disruption that resulted in lost revenue, a statistic mirrored by a recent FBI study which surmised that computer-related crimes such as spyware cost U.S. business $62 billion. That is 10 percent more than all identity fraud and over 60 times the cost of telecommunications frauds.”
Webroot cites spyware purveyors’ increasingly sophisticated distribution methods and technologies as the reason for the increase. They also highlighted the abundance of malicious spyware like Trojan horses that can open a back door in a vulnerable computer system and allow it to be used as a distribution platform for spam. Webroot reports that spyware is being increasingly designed to avoid detection and removal.