A new word and a new attitude for internet crime
The public's perception of the risks they face online lag behind reality by a couple of years. For example, most people have grasped the concept that they should not open attachments in emails from strangers. In reality, this kind of email worm accounts for about four per cent of attacks these days.
In fact, Panda Software, an antivirus company, has found that the most common problem on people's machines is spyware accounting for over 40 per cent of detections. But many people don't even know what spyware is.
Perception and reality
Earlier this year, I was involved in a series of focus groups with different kinds of home and small business users. The results were depressing: most of the people we interviewed simply don't protect themselves properly.
Their insouciance in the face of obvious threats rests on three big myths.
The reality is very different. Malware is all about crime and making money at your expense. They even want to steal your online computer game characters. When confronted with this reality the people in our focus groups were genuinely surprised.
Time for a change
In my opinion, it's time for a new word that will capture this change and end the confusion created by having a dozen words for computer threats. Forget about spyware, malware, viruses, Trojans, worms, key loggers, phishing and all the rest. Let's call it what it is: crimeware.
If you're reading this newsletter, this isn't going to be news to you but you have a valuable part to play in getting this message out to everyone else.
What does all this have to do with business IT security? Two things: First, infected home computers are a jumping off point for attacks on business. If we can drain the swamp, we can make the internet safer for everyone. Second, if home users stop trusting the internet, they'll stop buying online and they'll stop visiting your website.