Webroot® Advises Taxpayers Preparing Returns Online to Protect Themselves With AntiVirus and AntiSpyware Solutions

New Wave of Malware Placing Internet Users at Increased Risk This Tax Season

Boulder, CO – March 17, 2008

Webroot Software, Inc., the leading provider of Internet security for the consumer, enterprise and SMB markets, today urged everyone preparing taxes on computers connected to the Internet this year to protect personal and financial information from a new wave of keyloggers, system monitors and viruses. Deploying an antivirus and antispyware solution during tax season will help safeguard taxpayers' information from these dangerous Internet threats.

"The year over year growth in online tax filings has made this season one of the most critical times for Internet users to protect their valuable personal and financial information," said Peter Watkins, CEO of Webroot. "Because of the sheer volume of tax preparers placing social security numbers, bank account information and payroll records on their computers and sending some of this data over the Internet, cyber criminals are specifically targeting them with keyloggers and system monitors that can easily capture this information and lead to costly identity fraud."

According to recent data from Webroot's Threat Research Team, more than 1200 new key-logging and 336 system monitoring spyware and variations have been found and defined in the past month alone. This spike in malicious spyware is even more alarming when combined with the fact that last year's tax season set a new record for number of electronic filings, according to the IRS. Up 8.9 percent from 2006, more than 76.7 million people electronically filed their returns with a majority completed in March and April. Additionally, a record 22 million taxpayers filed from their home computer, up 11 percent from the previous year.

Malware threats such as keyloggers and system monitors are typically a cause for concern since they can be used to monitor Internet usage and behavior for malicious purposes. Even if users are just preparing their taxes on a computer connected to the Internet they can be at risk. Because they are created to be non-intrusive and are disguised as legitimate system files malware can be especially hard to detect without an installed desktop security solution.

Webroot has developed a simple list of recommendations for Internet users to follow during the tax season to avoid malware threats and infections:

  • Even if they are not going to file online, users preparing taxes on computers connected to the Internet should be sure they are running updated versions of a proven best of breed antispyware and antivirus software and should scan their entire system at least once a week, but definitely before preparing and/or filing taxes;
  • For Federal electronic filings, make sure to use services directly linked to http://www.irs.gov/
  • Do not respond to email inquiries regarding your taxes;
  • If you plan to file your state taxes online be sure to only use links directly from your official state homepage. Links to the official websites for all 50 states are available at http://us.gov/Agencies/State_and_Territories.shtml;
  • When finished filing taxes and using security passwords, users should also use privacy software for erasing important data from their systems.

To learn more about Webroot AntiVirus with AntiSpware & Firewall or Webroot AntiSpware Corporate Edition with AntiVirus, visit Webroot's Products for Home and Home Office.


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Webroot® is the market leader in cloud-based, real-time internet threat detection for consumers, businesses and enterprises. We have revolutionized internet security to protect all the ways users connect online. Webroot delivers real-time advanced internet threat protection to customers through its BrightCloud® security intelligence platform, and its SecureAnywhere™ suite of cloud-based security products for endpoints, mobile devices and corporate networks. Meer dan 7 miljoen consumenten, 1,5 miljoen zakelijke gebruikers en 1,3 miljoen mobiele gebruikers worden beschermd door Webroot. Market-leading security companies, including Cisco, F5 Networks, GateProtect, HP, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, Proofpoint, RSA and others choose Webroot to provide advanced Internet threat protection for their products and services. Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Colorado, Webroot is the largest privately held internet Security Company in the United States – operating globally across North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. For more information on our products and services, visit www.webroot.com.