Skip to Content

Privacy & Data

Still Big Threats Online, But Slowly Improving

The newest State of the Net report from Consumer Reports has concluded that several major online risks- including spyware infections- are declining in precedence. Unfortunately, spyware still cost the country 3.6 billion dollars over the last six months, with over half a million households being forced to replace computers because of spyware. While this is an intimidating figure, it in fact represents a 54% decline in the rate of serious spyware problems, even though a third of respondents didn’t install anti-spyware programs (about the same as last year). Unfortunately, the rate of serious spyware infections is not falling at the same rate as serious spam and virus incidents. Consumer Reports credits the progress being made against spyware and other online threats to consumer education, improved user tools, and government involvement. Of course, the spyware developers are working to come up with new ways to circumvent consumer precautions. One in 14 households had a serious spyware incident, and spyware developers are taking advantage of new platforms, such as cell phones. Like last year, we are pleased to see progress being made in the flight against spyware, and hope that legal and technical solutions to spyware continue to be pursued.