Ask the Expert

Why is spyware still a powerful data theft weapon?

Why does spyware remain such a vital weapon for stealing personal data?

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The scourge of spyware is going to be here for quite a while, simply because the bad guys make so much money from it. An attacker can make a dollar or more per month per infected system by using spyware to inject pop-up ads, spam and other annoyances. Therefore, attackers have a vested interest to constantly adapt their software and make it ever more stealthy and sticky. Additionally, the stakes are even higher if the bad guy can steal credit card or bank account information. What we've seen in the past three years is the growth of a spyware industry that spins off millions of dollars. That money is often folded back into research and development for more malicious attacks. This R&D funding makes their software even more powerful and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

More information:

  • Visit our spyware resource center for news, tips and expert advice.
  • Use this learning guide to protect against spyware.
  • This was first published in December 2006

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