Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Internet malware costs consumers $8.4 billion/year

A Consumer Reports summary of the State of the Net 2006 totals up costs to consumers of viruses ($5.2B), spyware ($2.6B) and phishing ($0.6B).

The risks associated with using the Internet remain high. Our third annual State of the Net assesses the ­likelihood and impact of four leading online hazards, listed in order of ­incidence, based on the nationally representativesurvey ­conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center and our follow-up investigation.

The incidence of heavy spam remains as elevated as last year. Spam still makes up most of the e-mail traffic on the Internet, clogging the In boxes of tens of millions of U.S. households...

The frequency of virus-induced problems is at the same high level as last year. Despite the absence of any highly publicized outbreaks, viruses are still widespread and quite hazardous...

Despite a decline in the incidence of spyware, its resulting problems remain epidemic. In the previous six months, spyware infections prompted nearly a million U.S. households to replace their computer...

Phishing attacks are as rampant as they were last year, while the ­median cost per victim has increased fivefold. In 2006 alone, the number of fraudulent sites has risen at an alarming rate.

The Washington Post reports on this report (but omits the cost of phishing).

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