TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Netters Change Habits to Avoid Spyware and Spam

Netters Change Habits to Avoid Spyware and Spam

Lisa Minter (
Thu, 7 Jul 2005 12:25:13 -0500

Nine out of 10 Internet users say they have changed their online
habits to avoid spyware and other Internet-based threats, according to
a study released on Wednesday.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project found that an overwhelming
majority of Internet users have stopped opening questionable e-mail
attachments, or taken other steps to avoid a plague of stealthy,
unwanted programs that can disable computers or secretly monitor
online activity.

Nearly half said they have stopped visiting particular Web sites that
they suspect may deposit unwanted programs on their computers, while
25 percent say they have stopped downloading music or movies from
"peer to peer" networks that may harbor spyware.

Eighteen percent said they had switched the type of Web browser they
use in order to avoid spyware.

Spyware has emerged as a major headache for computer users over the
last several years.

It can sap computing power, crash machines and bury users under a
blizzard of unwanted ads. Scam artists use spyware to capture
passwords, account numbers and other sensitive data. It can end up on
users' computers through a virus or when they download games or other
free programs from the Internet.

Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed said they had suffered slower
performance or other problems that could be attributed to
spyware. Other surveys have found the level of infection to be as high
as 80 percent.

The nonprofit group surveyed 1,336 U.S. Internet users, between May 4
and June 7. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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