Trend Micro Study Reveals End-User Awareness of Spyware is High

Security software maker Trend Micro says the majority of corporate computer users is familiar with the risks of spyware, but half think IT should be doing a better job educating them to deepen their understanding of the threat. The study's findings indicate awareness does not translate to knowledge, and as a result, users are looking to their IT departments to play a more protective role, according to TM.

The study, based on the responses of 1,200 end users in businesses ranging from multi-national corporations to single offices, was conducted in the U.S., Germany and Japan. Not surprising, the study indicates the problem of spyware is escalating, especially in small and medium-sized businesses.

Spyware is most apparently a problem in the U.S., where 40 percent of respondents say they have encountered spyware at work, as compared to 14 percent in Japan and 23 percent in Germany. In all three countries, end users from SMB organizations reported a greater number of encounters than larger enterprises.

U.S. end users are five times more likely to fall victim than their German and Japanese counterparts. For businesses with IT organizations, nearly 40 percent of respondents in the U.S. said their IT departments could do more to protect them against spyware. In Japan, corporate end users believe their spyware protection is insufficient, with two out of three small and medium-sized business workers and one out of two enterprise workers identifying this concern.

However, of those respondents who encounter spyware at work, only 45 percent believed they had actually fallen victim. This reveals a striking distinction between end-user awareness of the spyware threat and whether corporate end users are knowledgeable enough to identify spyware infiltration, which quite often occurs without end users knowing it.

Because of the broad awareness and relative lack of knowledge, many respondents expect IT departments to provide further education in addition to protection. This was especially the case in Japan, where 64 percent felt their IT departments could do more to educate them about spyware. Similar figures resulted in the United States (52%) and Germany (45%).

In the midst of this call for education, end users admitted they would be more apt to engage in risky online behavior if they count of IT to back them up with support.