Spyware’s reach…and the effect on marketers

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In the summer issue of IT Business Report I recently read some interesting stats about malware such as spyware and adware. Forrester Research reports that 17% of enterprises it surveyed say their systems are infected with spyware! However, only 60% of those infected really knew if they were infected or not.
And what’s worse, eTrust security management says that 40% of calls to help desks are related to spyware!


Experts suggest the biggest issue when it comes to the propagation of spyware is ‘free’ file-sharing programs and other no-cost services that require you to download a program or code to give you something like music, smileys, wallpaper or clipart.
Sometimes you don’t even have to download anything to get infected. Phishing emails have recently started containing more and more malware that self-installs as soon as you click on it. Even though many people know what phishing emails look like some are still tempted to see what is on the ‘other side’ of the click-through. Woosh. Too late!
*What has this got to do with marketing?*
As marketers in both the B2C and B2B space are looking at new ways of generating interactivity through advergaming or providing information and added value through downloads, expect to see more and more of your target market unable to access this stuff. One of my clients recently had issues accessing a new corporate portal because his system would not allow him to download and run the synchronization software (plug-in) he required. A friend told me he couldn’t play any Java-based games as he was not ‘allowed’ to run Java on his computer.
Marketers, be careful when your campaigns or promotions require downloads. If your target market is B2B you may have to re-think how you deliver some of the added value you are trying to get into the hands – or computers – of your contacts.
PS: What’s next? Industry experts are suggesting that with convergence we will see more and more malware come into networks and personal systems through wireless devices like phones. Furthermore, instead of keyloggers we will end up seeing “voice loggers” as more voice traffic is using VoIP and carried over the Internet.

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