You think spyware is bad now?
As Al Jolsen famously said, “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!”
Just consider a few predictions from Richard Stiennon, director of threat research at anti-spyware vendor Webroot.
His top prediction — spyware will be released this year that targets Firefox. No longer will smug Firefox users, me among them, say that our favorite browser is immune from pests.
But there’s worse still. He believes that RSS will become a conduit for for malware. Along with news and blog updates, we’ll be hit with adware, home page hijackers, and spyware.
Particularly worrisome, he says, is that one of the major blogging services could end up having a vulnerability that malware writers exploit, which would instantly infect countless people who subscribe to RSS feeds. The infection could spread like lightning because of the automated nature of RSS.
Stiennon doesn’t suggest any quick fixes. Because he works at an anti-spyware firm, you may think that he’s trying to scare people into buying his software. But he’s not. Even if these predictions aren’t correct, the spyware threat will continue to balloon.
There’s no single way to stop spyware from growing. But there is one that will help, and that no one talks about. That’s to punish those who benefit from the spyware scourge — the advertisers who benefit from pop up blizzards and home page hijacking. Once they start hurting, they’ll police how their ads are used, which in turn will cut off money to spyware purveyors.
Cutting off the money flow will go a long way toward solving the problem.
But don’t expect to see the feds take action — after all, this is the same crew that passed the Can Spam Act which only helped to increase the amount of spam we receive.
How would you solve the spyware scourge?