Spyware: have we lost the war?

Summary:Last week, two security companies spoke to me about their new products and I suddenly realised that we are close to losing the war against spyware.There are various forms of spyware with some being more aggressive than others but they all share the same desire -- to steal personal information from their victim's computers.

Last week, two security companies spoke to me about their new products and I suddenly realised that we are close to losing the war against spyware.

There are various forms of spyware with some being more aggressive than others but they all share the same desire -- to steal personal information from their victim's computers.

Over the past week I have spoken with two companies that have created security applications designed specifically to allow a spyware-infected computer to establish a secure link so the user can safely access online banking services without fear of losing any confidential information.

On Tuesday I spoke with Wintutis about vPure, which is a 'security wrapper' for Internet Explorer. According to Chandan Kudige, one of the company's cofounders, as soon as vPure is activated, any spyware on the computer will be blocked from accessing information flowing between the browser and the Internet.

Kudige told me that the product "basically stops any way in which data can be siphoned out of the browser".

However, he admitted that the product is not yet able to protect users from spyware that collects screenshots instead of keystrokes.

However, on Thursday at the CeBIT exhibition, executives from another software developer approached me and explained how their product works in a similar manner to vPure but is also able to block screen grabbers from compromising the secure link.

Have we really got to a point where users have to admit that they cannot get rid of the spyware infesting their PCs? Why else would we need to create a 'safe' connection before accessing an online bank?

Instead of killing off spyware we are learning how to live with it, which makes me think that this battle is almost over.

But have we lost the war?

Topics: Malware, Browser, Security

About

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.Munir was recognised as Austr... Full Bio

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