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How are percentage of infected home PCs calculated?

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#1 GoshenBleeping


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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:09 AM

There are numerous articles on the web that talk about the percentage of home PCs that are infected with malware. Question -- what kind of tests are executed to calculate these percentages? Can the numbers quoted be close to accurate?

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#2 myrti



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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:34 AM

Hi GoshenBleeping,

it always depends on what and where you read this. If you are an anti virus provider, you know how many license you have sold and you may also know (if the users agree to this) how many users had a detection in the last months/year. So they can probably give fairly accurate numbers.
Online scanners are a great source of data too: How many PCs were scanned vs how many were found to be infected, these kind of things can be used.

If you are an ISP, you will be analysing traffic to block malicious traffic (spam, botnets, etc), you should be able to get some data on how many of those IPs you have are communicating with malware servers and can thereby estimate how many of the IPs you are managing are infected. This again will give you a good estimate.

Security researchers will usually pretend to be the server of a specific malware and can then see how many people connect to their server to get orders and can, if they know how many such servers exist in total, make a good approximation on how many people are infected by the specific malware.

There's probably more ways, that I don't know about, too. The estimates will always be estimates, it's hard to say how accurate they are. These things vary strongly regionally and depending on what you qualify as "malware". A good article will quote its source and explain what data was used.

regards myrti

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#3 quietman7


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Posted 06 October 2012 - 11:23 PM

Anti-virus vendors collect tons of data in regards to malware and produce reports. This article includes a link for Panda's Quarterly report for which they analyzed IT security events and incidents around the world from April through June.

Panda's Collective Intelligence servers have analyzed 258.279.701 viruses and known goodware. Panda Cloud Antivirus connects to Collective Intelligence in real time. On this page you can see the new viruses that are being analyzed in real-time by Collective Intelligence as well as the viruses that Panda Cloud Antivirus is most frequently detecting on users' computers.

Panda Collective Intelligence Monitor: Virus activity recorded by Panda Security’s Collective Intelligence servers

There are tons of stats and information provided by anti-virus vendor threat assessments.

Malware Threat Meters:
Latest Malware Threats:
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#4 Didier Stevens

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 06:34 AM

The Malicious Software Removal Tool provides Microsoft with data for a huge amount of Windows machines.

MSRT is downloaded and executed each month via Windows Update. It is not a complete AV scanner.
It is limited in the malware it detects. This is by design. Microsoft makes a trade-off between the time it takes to scan a machine and and the amount of scanning that can be done.

Didier Stevens

SANS ISC Senior Handler
Microsoft MVP 2011-2016 Consumer Security, Windows Insider MVP 2016-2019


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