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The Awareness and Perception of Spyware amongst Home PC Computer Users
Jaeger M, Clarke NL
Advances in Network & Communication Engineering 4, ISBN: 978-1-84102-180-5, pp60-71, 2007
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Spyware is seen currently as a major threat to personal computer based data confidentiality, whilst seen by criminal elements as a positive moneymaking device through personal data theft from security unconscious home internet users. This paper examines the level of understanding of anonymous home computer users to Spyware, their subjective understanding of it, the level of use of Anti-Spyware software, what level of threat they feel from Spyware, as well as if Spyware has changed their browsing habits. The methodology employed was an anonymous survey via email invitation and of those that accepted the invitation, 205 completed surveys were obtained. From the resulting survey analysis, most respondents do understand what Spyware is, yet there was found to be a lack of understanding of computer security in defending against Spyware, this being shown by 20% of survey respondents who did not use any Anti-Spyware. What was also found was a small proportion of participants who did not correctly understand what Spyware is. Additionally the subjective nature of survey respondent’s ideas of Spyware infected websites was established, and compared to past web-crawl research from 2005, here a high proportion of survey respondents opinions was found to be objectively wrong. It was also found respondents see Spyware as a ‘High/Some Threat’, and due to past infections and news/media articles 72% have changed their browsing habits.

Jaeger M, Clarke NL