Invasion of the Computer Snatchers
This week’s Washington Post magazine story, “Invasion of the Computer Snatchers,” should serve as yet another wake-up call to internet users who do not take precautions against software intrusions. Brian Krebs profiles a programmer who hacks home computers to install adware and spyware – thousands per day. In a survey last spring, we described spyware and adware and 43% of internet users, or about 59 million American adults, say they have had such a program on their home computer. A separate survey conducted by AOL and the National Cyber Security Alliance shows that this is a low estimate. Like us, they asked respondents if they thought they had spyware or adware on their computer and 46% said yes. But then, living out the dream of every survey researcher, the AOL/NCSA team walked over and did an immediate scan of the person’s home computer to check their answer. Not surprisingly, a lot more people actually had spyware or adware: 62% of respondents. The AOL/NCSA team showed each respondent the results of their home computer scan and asked some follow-up questions.