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Perceived utility as a motivational factor in affecting users’ decisions to download and install potentially spyware-infected software
Spyware is acknowledged to be a growing problem in computing in the potential for privacy breaches, the theft of valuable data and facilitating the commission of other cybercrimes. This research paper is aimed at exploring perceived utility as a motivational factor in influencing user decisions to download and install free software containing spyware from the Internet. Data was collected through an online questionnaire sent to alumni of an Australian university, which was analyzed using quantitative methods. The findings revealed utility or immediate need is a strong and dominant motivating factor to download and install free software for most users even though it may be infected with spyware. The findings may have important implications for spyware proliferation and consumer protection, given the rapidly increasing uptake of online Internet activity by the general public supported by constantly improving technologies and online services.