EMERYVILLE, Calif. -- Using BigFix, Inc.'s AntiPest, powered by CA PestPatrol, anti-spyware product, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (Dade Schools) have cracked down on spyware on the district's 70,000 personal computers used by students, teachers and administrators. After deploying BigFix AntiPest, Dade Schools have reduced spyware infection rates by 90 percent, going from a 40 percent infection rate to a four percent rate. Dade Schools recently added the AntiPest product to its existing BigFix security configuration management solution that protects networked PCs located at over 360 schools in the county.
While to most computer users, spyware usually is more of an annoyance than a threat, it also has darker side as a tool for cyber-crimes that include identity theft, data and financial misappropriation, unauthorized use of computing assets, and turning computers into zombie machines broadcasting spam without their users' knowledge. Since the majority of the school district's computers are used by K-12 students, spyware has become a critical Internet safety issue at Dade Schools and other educational institutions.
Dade Schools suspected it had a problem with spyware, but Information Technology staff were shocked at its magnitude when results of the first-round deployment of BigFix AntiPest on 12,000 computers revealed a 40 percent infection rate. After the Dade Schools IT department reported this finding to senior administrators, they ordered immediate deployment of BigFix AntiPest on Dade Schools' 70,000 computers. After booting spyware off Dade Schools campuses, the remaining four percent of computers that pick up new spyware through routine access to the Internet can be easily identified and remedied by Dade Schools Information Technology staff.
The initial sweep of the Dade Schools network revealed that many variations of spyware had gained a foothold on its computers--including highly malicious key loggers and remote access Trojan horse break-ins. Key loggers capture highly sensitive data, including passwords, personal information, account numbers and other information used for identity theft, privacy violations and financial crimes. Remote access Trojans overcome data security defense measures such as firewalls, password protections and user privilege settings to access sensitive data on a computing infrastructure.