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Most Web Users Unable to Spot Spyware 399

Ben writes "According to a Spyware Quiz conducted by McAfee SiteAdvisor , a staggering 97% of Internet users are just one click away from infecting their PCs with spyware. One interesting conclusion from this study showed that even users with a high "Spyware IQ" have a nearly 100% chance of visiting a dangerous site during 30 days of typical online searching and browsing activity."
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Most Web Users Unable to Spot Spyware

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  • VMWare (Score:2, Interesting)

    by foundme ( 897346 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @10:52PM (#15209620) Homepage
    That's why I'm using VMWare's non-persistent feature so that my internet-facing OS is always the same, except after updates have been installed.
  • How? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AnalystX ( 633807 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @10:53PM (#15209626) Journal
    How exactly does that matter if less than 97% can get infected with spyware, or were they only testing people with systems that didn't safeguard against such? I would assume more people are careless about such things because they have anti-spyware software installed or are running an OS other than Windows.
  • Re:Follow the money (Score:1, Interesting)

    by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @11:21PM (#15209761) Journal
    The real way to combat this is to hold website owners responsible if they are hosting such malware.

    No, the real way to combat this is to hold the OS(and hardware for that mattter) maker responsible for making the software so easily and provocatively exploitable for possibly more sinister reasons than they are letting on. Another way to combat this would be a prohibition against cheap commodity equipment(hardware and software) on critical(banking, hospital, military, air traffic control, etc.) systems. Aircraft parts have to be certified as airworthy. Critical systems operators should only use "networthy" computers. We need a form of UL(Underwriters Laboratories) to certify computers and networks.
  • by ezratrumpet ( 937206 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @11:23PM (#15209768) Journal
    I came across a 7th grader who managed to load up a Win98 machine with 14 different pieces of spyware with 1 click in IE. We wiped the machine with an industrial strength removal program, installed Firefox, locked it down, and asked her to go out to the same website. NOTHING - not one single piece of spyware - got through on Firefox. At that moment, I converted for life.
  • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mistlefoot ( 636417 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @11:49PM (#15209873)
    The point is that this hosts file offers 11,000 lines worth of links - that link back to

    You try to go to, for example - and you can't. What a wonderful sounding place to get a screensaver - but apparently it offers spyware or tracks you - don't believe and want to go anyhow? Turn off your hosts file or comment out the line. Simple.

    You can read every entry. Nothing hidden. Simple. Preventative. Free. And nothing to install. What more can you ask for?
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @02:58AM (#15210473) Journal
    Still got the answers wrong. About half in fact. Granted in real life I would have given the answer to "wich of these sites do you think is safe to visit": "NEITHER"

    But that was not an option.

    Anyway perhaps linux users are even worse. How many of use just install packages from your distro without ever checking who actually wrote them? Just because no-one included a spyware package yet doesn't mean you are being safe. Just lucky.

  • by it0 ( 567968 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @03:20AM (#15210521)
    If you restart firefox you see the following, you also see the agreement before downloading. I think we can assume they speak the truth, then it looks very decent. This is what you see for slashdot []
    And this for astalavista k []

    I think it looks very good and can give a good insight if a site is safe.

    The agreement:

    How SiteAdvisor Works and How we Protect Your Privacy

    As you use SiteAdvisor's software, it checks our master database in order to display our safety ratings about the sites you visit. We do this because our database of safety ratings is far too large and too frequently changing for us to send it to you in advance when you download our software.

    We never store information about where specific users go online or about what they do online. We do keep master anonymous logs of which sites our users visit so we can prioritize those sites for retesting. These logs contain no information about which users visited which sites -- no personally identifying information, and not even users' IP addresses.

    For more information on how we protect your privacy, see our privacy policy.
  • by jacksonj04 ( 800021 ) <> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @05:23AM (#15210734) Homepage
    No, computers *can* work fine without knowing their inner workings. Ever used a Mac?

    Cars no longer require competent users, despite initially if you wanted a car you needed to understand everything in it. Nowadays the on-board computer deals with everything except steering (And some even compensate for bad driving here).

    Computers are like cars. You can become the 'mechanic' and understand everything and keep your computer running. Or you can be the everyday user and just point it in the right direction. Some newer computers compensate for bad driving here as well.
  • WTF? 3 out of 8? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by catdevnull ( 531283 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:31AM (#15211527)
    I chose that ALL sites were unsafe (take no chances) and assumed they were risky.

    Then the stupid quiz told me I was at risk. I call bullshit on the results--it doesn't account for "paranoid" mode.
  • by mgblst ( 80109 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:35AM (#15211565) Homepage
    so.....what is the URL of the site???

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