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Are UK Organisations Losing the War on Malware?

The majority of organisations within the UK have been the victim of a malware attack, and the business implications of these attacks are becoming increasingly serious. This is according to a recent survey of over 600 UK respondents, carried out by anti-spyware developer, Webroot Software Inc, in co-operation with market research solutions provider Global Market Intelligence (GMI).

Proposals for new data protection laws similar to those launched in the US are currently being discussed by European commissioners. The new rules would compel companies operating in Europe to notify regulators and customers of any security breach of data held by that company.

Such announcements would have significant impact on consumer confidence to such an extent that it can lead to long-term brand damage. This won’t necessarily affect just a small number of companies in Britain either, with 59% of the companies surveyed by Webroot reporting that they had suffered an adware attack, 52% reported a Trojan horse attack and 55% a Phishing or e-mail attack.

Increased help desk time to repair spyware damage was the highest ranking enterprise complaint, with 45% of organisations saying it had effected their organisation in this way. Reduced employee productivity (32%) and disrupted business activities (31%) were also high-ranking complaints. More worryingly though, 11% of companies felt spyware had caused them to lose sales.

Webroot’s research found that 72% of companies surveyed had some form of desktop anti-spyware installed, however relying on this as a sole means of prevention can often invite more problems. Although software is a major tool in preventing an organisation from being infected with spyware, education is also a key element of forming a strong defence.

Many of the problems you encounter with spyware can be traced back to poor Internet surfing practices. Educating staff around safe browsing practices is much more cost effective than the amount of time help desks currently spend fixing spyware related complaints.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.