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Malware Disrupts Half Of Global Businesses, Study Finds

A quarterly Webroot study showed that more than a quarter of businesses reported being compromised by spyware.
Malware is disrupting nearly half of worldwide businesses, a new study reports.

The Webroot State of Internet Security study reports that out of 600 global businesses that were surveyed, 43% of them said they're suffering business disruptions due to malware and more than 60% do not have an information security plan.

Peter Watkins, CEO of Webroot Software Inc., a security company based in Boulder, Colo., said malware attacks are become more frequent and more successful because the attacks are more sophisticated.

According to Webroot's quarterly study, more than 40% of the companies surveyed said spyware was causing business losses. Webroot's analysts noted in the study that most unsettling finding is that 26% of enterprises reported that confidential information had been compromised as a result of spyware. Thirty-nine% reported Trojan attacks, 24% reported system monitor attacks, and 20% reported pharming and keylogger attacks.

"Our research has shown that the methods of infection, which just a short time ago were considered incredibly advanced, are now commonplace, demonstrating how quickly today's threats are evolving into a global security concern," said Watkins in a written statement. "Despite the growth and severity of malware, over 60% of businesses don't have a security plan. Businesses need to control this threat by adequately protecting themselves and their customers."

Webroot also reported that analysts there have found that 1.7% (or 4.2 million) of 250 million URLs around the world harbor malware. Almost 3 million of those malicious sites were discovered in 2006 alone.

"It's obvious from this research that businesses worldwide are operating under a false sense of security," said Watkins.

Finjan, another Web security vendor, issued a warning this week that malicious code, like worms, Trojans and spyware, aren't just coming from the seedy underbelly of the Internet. Most come straight from the United States and the United Kingdom. And security vendor Symantec reported last week that cyber criminals -- phishers, spammers, hackers, and virus writers -- are bartering and selling services and information in online cooperative networks.