During the last months I’ve been asked the same question almost every day: why are there so many rogueware infections? We have already published some data in the blog, as well as in the 2008 Q3 Report. The number of infections are somehow relevant:

As you can see, Adware is the top one, and this is due to the rogueware detections, included in the Adware category. With all the sensors we have now in the new products, which are connected to the Collective Intelligence, and due to this wave of infections I wanted to know if the feeling I had was real or not. From the 1st of June 2008 until yesterday, we have received reports from more than 2 million different computers. Even though our user base is much higher, I have only taken the data from products using the connection to the cloud and that have agreed to share information, which means that most of them are users of our free online scanner ActiveScan.

The next query was easy: how many computers out of these 2 millions have detected rogueware? About 70,000 different computers. That makes about a 3% of those 2 million computers.

How can we translate this to the whole world? We can extrapolate this information; even though this is not 100% accurate, it can throw some light on this issue. According to Forrester, there are about 1 billion computers (US billions, one thousand million for non US readers). That would make 30 million rogueware infected computers (3%.)

Then we have Gartner, which said that about a 3.30% of people is losing money due to phishing, so these are people that are actually sending their banking information to the phishers. Rogueware is much more agressive than phishing, but as we do not know how many users are being fooled to buy that "software" to get rid of fake infections, let's say that only that 3.30% of the people is paying. That would mean almost 1 million users buying rogueware (only in 4 months and 2 weeks!)

The price of each rogueware application varies, but let's say that 50€ is the average price. These are not difficult maths:

50€ * 1,000,000 = 50,000,000 € (US$ 69,000,000)

Ok, they are not earning this money at once, this is in 4 months and 2 weeks… so that means more than 11,000,000€ (US$ 15,000,000) per month.

So… Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?