In a recent survey of IT managers carried out by PC manufacturer Dell, over half of the respondents said that their company had been infected with spyware and 56 per cent said that the problem was placing an increasing burden on the company IT department.

Although 65 per cent of managers said their company had suffered from an IT security failure, roughly the same number said that they were confident of their ability to recover from a major security breach. Rod Arnot, Dell UK’s services director said “It’s no surprise that most businesses are concerned about spyware and place security as their top priority. However, it’s worrying to see that the majority of the respondents surveyed said that their organisation has been contaminated by spyware, which can potentially put their business at serious risk.”

According to the latest figures from Webroot, whose Corporate SpyAudit software can scan the PCs on a corporate network for spyware, an average of 17.8 pieces of spyware or other undesirable software were found on the 27,865 PCs its software scanned between October 2004 and February 2005. The company gives the software away to businesses free of charge and publishes the results of its scans every quarter. Nearly 15 per cent of all corporate PCs scanned during the last quarter were infected with some sort of system monitor spyware which is able to log keystrokes and therefore record sensitive data.

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