Spyware Statistics -- What's New in May 2005?Written by Alexandra Gamanenko
The results of Spy Audit survey made by ISP Earthlink and Webroot Software are still fresh in memory of IT security experts. The study lasted for whole last year; more than 4.6 million system scans were made in 2004. On May 3, 2005 Webroot's State of Spyware Report was released. What's new in Q1 2005?
Although statistics often is blamed for various deadly sins -- from being biased to being inaccurate -- there is nothing left to those who are anyhow connected with IT but to keep up with fresh data. Since spyware is literally ubiquitous, nobody who owns or uses a PC can say that it is none of his business. So general public also has to keep an eye on news about spyware.
On May 3 Webroot Software, a privately held anti-spyware company based in Boulder, Colorado, released a comprehensive report on spyware, The State of Spyware Report, -- an in-depth review and analysis of impact of spyware, adware and other types of unwanted software on consumers and enterprises.
The results of Spy Audit survey made by ISP Earthlink and Webroot Software are still fresh in memory of IT security experts. The study lasted for whole last year; more than 4.6 million system scans were made in 2004. What's new in 2005?
"Industry experts suggest that these types of programs [i.e. spyware in general] may reside on up to 90 percent of all Internet-connected computers" that's quote from last year's Spy Audit survey. The first quarter of 2005, alas, confirmed these suggestions.
During Q1, 2005, 88% of scans made with Webroot's SpyAudit software found some form of unwanted program (Trojan, system monitor, cookie or adware) on consumers' computers. The majority (87%) of corporate PCs also had unwanted programs or cookies.
Legal Music DownloadsWritten by Mike Ber
On July 28, 2004, French Internet access providers and music copyright owners signed a joint national charter aimed at cracking down on illegal downloads and expanding amount of legal music tracks available online (AFP). This is latest in a series of moves taken across world to combat music piracy as production labels see more and more of their profits being lost to illegal downloads of music files.
The music industry has been saying same thing for several years now: peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks are exponentially distributing pirated music across world through Internet, and this constitutes a copyright infringement. In English, this means that fact that I downloaded a Tori Amos track through Kazaa yesterday and am listening to it right now makes me a criminal. So far, so good. Quite true as well.
But real problem is not that people do not want to pay for music. Often I sample new music off Internet before buying CDs. Chances are that if I like most of album, I’m going to buy it. On surface this is what radio stations do when they play music. The difference, however, is that it has become insanely easy for me to acquire almost-as-good-as-original quality mp3s of any track that I want to listen to, and even if I don’t pay a dime, no one is there to catch me.
The principle of accountability has vanished. When one sees that there are two ways to acquire same product, but by sacrificing a ‘little’ bit of quality you can get it for free without being penalized for it, what would most rational people do? P2P networks have made finding music off Internet ridiculously easy, and most of us tend to ‘forget’ our social responsibility when it comes to such ‘trivial’ matters. To contribute to this, copy-protection techniques used on CDs by major production houses are always a step behind latest cracking algorithms, and steps taken to prevent ‘ripping’ of CDs and DVDs have proven fruitless so far.
Enter music downloads of legal kind. Disregarding small number of ‘free’ legal music available for promotional purposes, more and more artists and labels have begun to provide a pay-per-download music service. In essence, you can purchase individual tracks or complete albums through a secure online transaction and then download your ‘purchase’ and, with variable limits to personal use, pretty much do whatever you want to do with it (Several providers digitally encode files to prevent them from being played on other computers, or to be burned onto CD-Rs) This is both a move to encourage free-riders such as me to start acquiring ‘legal’ music and an economic adjustment to digital music revolution. Developing technologies are changing way people perceive and use music. The advent of iPod and other mp3 players has meant that more and more people are becoming accustomed to carrying around their complete music collections with latest players offering space for around 10,000 songs. This holds frightening possibilities for record companies. There is a very real concern within industry that CD format is fast going out of style, and as technology evolves, consumer demands for best ‘medium’ will change as well. Till a few years ago audio CDs offered unparalleled music quality, a factor record companies used to encourage people to ‘buy instead of steal (download)’. However, today’s high-quality digital formats mean that audio quality is comparable, and in some cases equal to, CDs. Some experts are even starting to predict that within a decade CDs will become history as digital music will evolve to a point where we will be have access to our entire music collection (hopefully paid for) wherever we want it: in our car, at work, anywhere in house, even on beach. Matched with promises (and reality) of audio quality, this is a serious threat to traditional business.