FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Teresa Dingboom Dittus Communications
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 15, 2004 Though more than 90 percent of computers in the United States have some form of spyware on their computers* , the majority don't know how to identify or combat the online menace, according to a survey released today by the Internet Education Foundation (IEF) and Dell.
The poll was conducted as part of the Consumer Spyware Initiative (CSI) public awareness campaign sponsored by IEF and Dell.** CSI's objective is to reach at least 63 million Internet users ‹ the number of U.S. Internet users who use broadband to access the World Wide Web ‹ over the course of the next year.***
Spyware refers to programs that can be unknowingly downloaded onto consumers' computers and can collect personal information, change users' homepages, display unwanted ads or slow computer system performance. Spyware can surreptitiously find its way on to consumers' computers through e-mail, "drive-by" downloads or by being bundled into other software a consumer installs or downloads.
Elements of CSI include links to several spyware troubleshooting tool kits for consumers on IEF's GetNetWise Web site (www.getnetwise.org), direct communication with millions of Dell U.S. consumer customers via e-mail and dell.com and an effort to recruit additional technology companies and industry associations to distribute GetNetWise education materials to their customers and members.
"The Internet is an integral part of our economy and lifestyle, and it is vital to ensure that Internet users are not deterred from going online due to hazards like spyware," said Tim Lordan, staff director of IEF. "CSI will provide Internet users with the knowledge they need to feel secure online, and IEF is proud to sponsor such an important program with Dell."
High-speed Internet users are also at greater risk for spyware due to the lack of consumer usage of built-in firewalls, the speed at which spyware files can download and because of the "always on" nature of broadband. Once downloaded onto a computer, spyware can be difficult to find, uninstall or disable.
"Since January 2004, more customers have called Dell seeking relief from spyware than for any other technical support issue," said Mike George, vice president and general manager of Dell's U.S. Consumer business. "We've been focused on arming our customers with the information and tools they need to combat this problem. Through this process, we've seen that education is our best counter intelligence against the threat of spyware."
"We can't let spyware undermine the promises of the Internet," said FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz. "Spyware is a growing and pernicious problem, and the FTC is committed to being part of the solution."
"No computer user deserves to be spied on by people who illegally hijack their computers," said Lydia B. Parnes, acting Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, who also participated in the launch event. "I commend the Consumer Spyware Initiative's effort to help users recognize spyware, get rid of it, and avoid it in the future. Such initiatives are essential to protecting consumers from the current epidemic of spyware."
About IEFThe Internet Education Foundation (www.neted.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public and policymakers about the potential of a decentralized global Internet to promote democracy, communications, and commerce.
About DellDell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) is a premier provider of products and services required for customers worldwide to build their information-technology and Internet infrastructures. Company revenue for the past four quarters totaled $45.4 billion. Dell, through its direct business model, designs, manufactures and customizes products and services to customer requirements, and offers an extensive selection of software and peripherals. Information on Dell and its products can be obtained www.dell.com
Dell is committed to helping Internet users learn how to have safe and secure online experiences through direct outreach, affordable security software and services, and partnerships with organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, the Internet Education Foundation and the National Cyber Security Alliance.
*According to a May 2003 study by the National Cyber Security Alliance.
**The IEF-Dell Survey was conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs between September 17-19, 2004, with 742 Internet users taken from a representative sample of 1,000 adults nationwide.
***Nielsen/NetRatings September, 2004 report on broadband connectivity. In August 2004, 51 percent of the American online population connected to the Internet via broadband as compared, or 64.1 million Web users. Overall growth for broadband connections rose 43 percent year-over-year.
Dell is a trademark of Dell Inc.Dell disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others.