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Spyware Evolving, Becoming Sneakier

Experts at a spyware conference said that old-fashioned spyware--the kind with all the pop-ups--is dying out. Unfortunately, it's being replaced by spyware that's more difficult to detect.Speaking at the Anti-Spyware Coalition Public Workshop 2008 in Washington, D.C., FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz said, "Nuisance adware is mostly dead now. That's encouraging, because it's rare that we can look at a whole method of attack and say that we're making real progress in stopping it." About one out of 11 users had spyware-infected systems in 2007, said Jeffrey Fox, technology editor at Consumer Reports, down from one out of six in 2005.

On the other hand, David Marcus, security research and communications manager at McAfee's Avert Labs unit, said, "Spyware is being delivered in more Trojan-like methods now, using a lot of the same distribution methods as other malware. So you might see a dropoff in traditional spyware, but it's offset by the tremendous increase we've seen in the broader category of malware." The warning was echoed by Eric Goldman, assistant professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law. "Now the people who distribute spyware are doing it using methods that are harder to detect, because they usually have a more malicious purpose in mind."Dark Reading

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