Spyware is IT pros' greatest fear

Spyware was IT professionals' biggest security concern in 2007, according to a survey by the Computer Technology Industry Association.

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Spyware was IT professionals' biggest security concern in 2007, according to a survey by the Computer Technology Industry Association.

CompTIA surveyed 1,070 businesses earlier this year. Some 55% of those polled reported spyware as their top concern; in particular, respondents said the volume of spyware they have to combat had increased in the previous 12 months.

"Spyware was rarely mentioned as a concern just a few years ago," said John Venator, president and CEO at CompTIA, in a statement. CompTIA commissioned the survey, which was conducted by TNS, a marketing research group.

A close second to spyware was a lack of user awareness, which worried 54% of survey respondents. Close to 50% cited viruses and worms as their biggest concern, and about 45% said authorised-user abuse represents a security issue. Rounding out the top five concerns cited in the 2007 survey was browser-based attacks, with more than 41% citing that as a cause for concern.

Looking ahead, 20% of survey respondents said they see viruses and worms as threats in 2010, while 14% said they think spyware will continue to be a concern. Nine percent cited wireless access as a potential security issue in 2010, and 9% said the same about email and email attachments.

Organisations are less concerned about phishing and social-engineering attacks: Just 5% said they were a cause for concern. Another 5% mentioned remote access as a potential security problem in 2010.

CompTIA says organisations are increasing their IT spending on security technology and training.

"Nearly one-half indicate they intend to increase spending on security-related technologies, and another one-third expects to increase spending on security training," Venator said.

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