Spyware Costs Companies $130,000 Each Month

New data shows that on average, businesses are spending an eye-popping amount of money every month in IT resources to fight the spyware plague.

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FaceTime Communications, an IT security provider, surveyed more than 1,000 IT managers and end users.  The key finding: spyware and other unsanctioned downloads are resulting in average monthly costs of $130,000.

The survey also found that spyware incursions appear to be growing at a rate twice that of computer virus incidents.  Much of the blame goes to instant messaging services, which have skyrocketed in popularity among business users.  While secure IM systems are available, most end users still use consumer-grade services that are dangerous because they end-run company firewalls.

In addition to IM, the study found growing use of what FaceTime calls “greynet applications” – software installed on PCs without official sanction from IT. Typical greynets include peer-to-peer file-sharing, Web conferencing applications, Web mail, adware/spyware, and voice-over-IP applications.

The study found that even among IT managers who have installed perimeter security measures, 77% had a spyware incident in the past six months.  Most of the IT managers said spyware incidents are occurring at the same or greater frequency as six months ago.

The survey also found that end users generally believe they have the right to install greynet applications and that IT has greynet incursions under control.

“We are seeing significant adoption of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ greynet applications on employee PCs,” said a FaceTime executive.  “We are observing a steady increase of worms, viruses, and growing threats, such as spyware, within the enterprise.”

© National Security Institute, Inc.
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