Webroot today urged Internet users to pay special attention to the security of their personal information and use a proven Internet security program when preparing and filing their taxes online. According to the IRS, 73 million tax returns were filed online in 2006, up 6.9 percent from the year before, with 20 million people filing returns from their home computers. While Internet filing offers users a new level of convenience, speed and accuracy during tax season, it can also expose users’ personal information to cyber criminals.
Webroot specifically cautioned users about a potential spike in the instances of system monitors and keyloggers during tax season. Last year Webroot’s Threat Research Team recorded a 265 percent increase in the instances of system monitors from February to March, when the majority of users use the Internet to prepare and file their taxes. Classified as some of the most dangerous computer security threats, system monitors and keyloggers can track and record a user’s individual keystrokes, making it easy for spyware criminals to steal any personal information that might be entered into an online tax program or form.
To help Internet users ensure the safety of their information before they begin preparing their taxes, Webroot is offering users a free computer scan to check for spyware, viruses and other dangerous forms of malware. Users can visit Webroot’s website, run a quick and exhaustive scan of their system and then feel confident that their computers are safe and their information will stay protected.