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92 Percent of Organizations With at Least 100 Employees Have Been Contaminated With Spyware, Yet Only Six Percent of Employees Believe They Have Been Infected
[April 28, 2004]

92 Percent of Organizations With at Least 100 Employees Have Been Contaminated With Spyware, Yet Only Six Percent of Employees Believe They Have Been Infected

SAN DIEGO, April 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Websense, Inc. , the world's leading provider of employee Internet management (EIM) software, today announced that 92 percent of IT managers believe their organizations have been infected with spyware, a rogue technology that can secretly collect Web surfing patterns, keystrokes and password information to send back to a host Web site, with or without the user's knowledge. IT managers also reported that an average of 29 percent of their corporate PCs have been infected with spyware. However, only six percent of employees said they have ever visited any Web sites at work that contain spyware.

According to Websense's fifth annual Web@Work survey conducted by Harris Interactive(R), there is a major discrepancy between employees' knowledge and understanding of spyware versus IT managements' findings on the number of corporate workstations that are actually infected. For example, one-third of employees either do not believe, or are unsure, that their computers could be infected with spyware. However, IT management reported that spyware was on the rise -- of those that acknowledged they had a spyware infection, forty percent believe that the number of spyware-infected workstations at their organization has increased.
One of the most common ways for an employee to download spyware is by using a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing application such as KaZaa or Morpheus. Many P2P users do not realize that by downloading a seemingly harmless mp3 file, it may be accompanied by a spyware application. By connecting users directly to each other to download or swap files, P2P networks bypass normal security barriers and can be easily exploited by hackers to spread spyware.
"Employees are typically exposed to spyware as a parasitic program that is attached to something useful they've intentionally downloaded from the Internet, or been tricked into downloading, or it is surreptitiously loaded by a malicious hacker," said Peter Firstbrook, program manager at META Group. "Most employees don't even know they are infected; however, spyware can be merely a nuisance, clogging the network with advertising traffic or pestering the user with pop up ads; or it can be an invasion of privacy and collect what sites they've been browsing on; or less often, a security threat that records keystrokes or screenshots that reveal confidential corporate information and potentially create backdoors by revealing passwords and user names."
To help organizations protect corporate computing resources from spyware and prevent confidential information and company trade secrets from leaving the network, Websense Enterprise(R) offers a three-tiered defense against spyware -- Websense Enterprise blocks employee access to Web sites containing spyware, stops spyware applications from launching at the desktop, and prevents spyware from communicating confidential information back to third-parties.
"One of the largest challenges associated with spyware for organizations is actually identifying the type and potential impact of the spyware," said Curt Staker, president of Websense, Inc. "Websense software allows companies to view any spyware activity and spyware application launches at the enterprise level, so IT managers can gauge their spyware exposure globally and respond quickly."
At the desktop, the Websense Enterprise Client Policy Manager(TM) (CPM) module finds and mitigates the launching of spyware applications on employee machines, whether online or offline via a remote laptop, enabling organizations to effectively manage employee computer use while mitigating security risks and improving IT resource management. In addition, CPM is easily installed and managed on all network desktops and laptops with a single mouse click directly from the Websense central management console, unlike other security solutions, in which IT managers must manually configure the application on each individual computer, or rely on their end users to do so.
At the Internet gateway, Websense Enterprise Security PG(TM) database stops spyware applications in their tracks by blocking the back-channel communication to third parties. Through proprietary processes and the company's patent-pending WebCatcher(TM) technology, by which uncategorized Web sites accessed by employees are anonymously sent back to Websense for categorization and added to its URL database, Websense software is able to identify spyware servers and prevent employee computers from transparently sending company or personal data back to unknown third parties.
In addition to helping prevent the unauthorized dissemination of valuable corporate data, Websense Enterprise reporting capabilities allow organizations to identify the presence of spyware applications and other malicious activities on the network in real-time.
For a free 30-day evaluation of Websense Enterprise or more information on protecting your organization from a wide range of threats including spyware, virus outbreaks, instant messaging and employee hacking, visit
About the Web@Work Survey
Web@Work is a comprehensive annual survey of Internet and application usage in the workplace. By surveying both employees and IT managers, the study reveals unique insights on employees' surfing habits as well as IT managers' perspective on the top network problems facing today's organizations. Web@Work is commissioned by Websense, Inc. and conducted by Harris Interactive(R). This is the fifth annual Web@Work survey.
Survey Methodology
The study was conducted by Harris Interactive(R) on behalf of Websense, Inc. Harris Interactive was responsible for questionnaire development and data collection, and Websense was responsible for data analysis. Five hundred U.S. employees (ages 18 and over), who were employed full-time for companies with at least 100 employees, were interviewed by telephone by between February 23 and March 19, 2004. A total of 350 U.S. information technology (IT) managers were surveyed online between February 24 and March 14, 2004. These professionals were employed full time for U.S. companies with at least 100 employees and at least some employees have Internet access. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points for the employee survey and +/- 5.2 percentage points for the IT survey. Note: Some percentages based on very small sample sizes, in which case the margin of error will vary.
About Harris Interactive(R)
Harris Interactive ( is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll(R), and for pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, Harris Interactive combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. The Company conducts international research from its U.S. offices and through wholly owned subsidiaries -- London-based HI Europe (, Paris-based Novatris and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan -- as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network of independent market- and opinion-research firms.
About Websense, Inc.
Websense, Inc. , the world's leading provider of employee Internet management solutions, enables organizations to optimize employee use of computing resources with Web filtering in addition to mitigating threats related to Internet use including instant messaging, peer-to-peer, and spyware. By providing usage policy enforcement at the Internet gateway, on the network and at the desktop, Websense Enterprise enhances productivity and security, optimizes the use of IT resources and mitigates legal liability for our customers. Websense, awarded PC Magazine's Editors' Choice and listed on Forbes Magazine's 2004 "Top 25 Technology Companies," serves more than 20,600 customers worldwide, representing 16.4 million seats. For more information, please visit
(C) 2004, Websense, Inc. All rights reserved. Websense and Websense Enterprise are registered trademarks of Websense, Inc. in the United States and certain international markets. Websense has numerous other unregistered trademarks in the United States and internationally. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
For further information please contact: Jennifer Culter of Websense, Inc., +1-858-320-9511,
Websense, Inc.

CONTACT: Jennifer Culter of Websense, Inc., +1-858-320-9511,

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