Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Spyware Detection? 97% Of Internet Users Ready To Be Infected

If you think that slick and professionally-looking sites, sporting national advertisers and promotions are safe destinations, void of malware or spyware risks for your computer, think again.

Apparently, it's not easy to judge a site's safety just by looking at it, and in fact, good-looking sites are often the worst offenders when it comes to infecting your PC with unwanted adware and spyware.

Photo credit: Michael Osterrieder

In fact, no matter how expert or competent you may be in this respect, you should not rely anymore on your senses and intuition alone; as a matter of fact, the large majority of Internet users are still deeply unaware of the privacy and security risks they face hourly, and even in the case of spyware detection they still are generally unable to detect their presence effectively, according to the latest SiteAdvisor survey-quiz sponsored by McAfee.

In the survey, in which were interviewed more than 14,000 Internet users, 97 per cent of them were reported to be just 'one click away' from exposing and infecting their computers with undesired malicious software.

The survey-quiz, which is still accessible for everyone, is made up of a series of questions that challenges Internet users ability to identify which sites would have been web safe destinations to avoid spyware infection of their computers. In fact, only three per cent of those that took the survey, were able to guess that information correctly.

The survey-quiz has been available since March and the type of sites chosen represent the most notorious sources of unwanted software: screensavers, smileys, free games, song lyrics, and file-sharing applications.



The initial part of the survey presents users with pairs of sites and asks them to pick which one in each pair is the safe one. The second part presents a series of file sharing software sites and asks which ones are spyware and adware free.

Note that the examples included in the survey/quiz are taken from more than three million Web sites which have been independently tested and rated for Web safety issues like spyware and spam., this very site you are reading, is among the many sites included in this test. You can see the detailed results for it right here:

Here are some of the key findings emerged so far from the survey:

1) If it had been just for them, the great majority of users (65%) would easily get infected with adware or spyware wihtout even realizing it and many times over.

2) A key trick for those sites sliding bad, malicious software into your computer is the smart use of national advertisers and a clean, uncluttered design. Generally users feel safe under such conditions.

3) No matter how skilled and expert you are you have a nearly 100% chance of visiting a dangerous site that will infect your computer during any 30 days of typical online activity.

4) Most people do not have the time, patience and interest to read the fine print that puts into legal grounds Web sites that install unwanted software "with your explicit permission" in your computer.

If you want, you can test your own level of preparedness to online security risks you can access directly the McAfee's SiteAdvisor Spyware survey at .

See also:
Free Online Spyware and Virus Scanners: Is My PC Infected?

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posted by Robin Good on Wednesday, May 3 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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