School of Computer and Information Science, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia
Spyware is a major threat to personal computer based data confidentiality, with criminal elements utilising it as a positive moneymaking device by theft of personal data from security unconscious home internet users. This paper examines the level of understanding and awareness of home computer users to Spyware. An anonymous survey was distributed via email invitation with 205 completed surveys. From an analysis of the survey it was found that the majority of respondents do understand what Spyware is, however, there was found to be a lack of understanding of computer security in defending against Spyware, with 20% of survey respondents not using any AntiSpyware. In addition, the subjective nature of survey respondent’s ideas of Spyware infected websites was established and compared to past webcrawl research where a high proportion of survey respondent’s opinions were found to be incorrect. It was also found respondents see Spyware as a ‘High/Some Threat’, and due to past infections and news/media articles 72% have changed their browsing habits.