Spyware, adware and malware are all similar to each other, with each one attacking users privacy in a different way and with varying purposes. Spyware is used by different intruders to either track internet usage information for advertising or to steal personal information and sell it which could lead to identity theft.
In a study done in an IDC based out of Massachusetts it was predicted that money spent on internet security from spyware will jump from $12 million in the U.S. during 2003 to $305 million once 2008 rolls around.
The study said most spyware security providers will continue to compete for having the top market products, including big name virus security companies such as Norton and McAfee who will release their spyware software to compete with already established anti-spyware providers. Millions of computers, mostly PCs, have been and continue to be infected with spyware, with the study estimating 67 percent of computers with an infection already.
Spyware makes itself difficult for users to rid of because it infects a computers registry keys which can be touchy and hard to understand. The IDC study suggested that while key players in the spyware security industry are currently companies such as Webroot and PestPatrol, the large anti-virus companies will begin to provide spyware software to dominate the industry.
It was said by those involved in the study that McAfee has begun work on anti-spyware software and Norton is predicted to be following closely behind in those efforts.
Another unique characteristic of spyware is that removal tools do not detect all infections when a scan is performed because it is so diverse. Several different scanning tools will catch spyware that another tool did not. Persons from the IDC study predicted Norton and McAfee and similarly trusted and known anti-virus vendors will take over the spyware security because technology companies already have a relationship built with these companies and they will only want trusted spyware tool
The IDC report officials also said spyware is most threatening to business because all their information and their customers information can be stolen using spyware. Spyware also hinders a computers functioning which in turn brings down a businesses productivity levels. Personal computer users are also concerned about private and possible harmful information being taken by spyware. Some recent news has also said that organized crime set ups have turned to spyware as a method for stealing information.