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Old 04-20-2011, 09:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
Call me Mak or K
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Default Why malware statistics don't matter

Im distrustful of statistics. I tend to look at much of the statistics that Im exposed to on a daily basis as data repackaged and re-purposed (weaponized if you like) with a particular agenda (the warhead). This isnt to say that all statistics are bogus, but when you combine differing agendas with an overall lack of understanding of the subject, nonsense usually prevails.

And busting that nonsense is an important job. My colleague Ed Bott did an awesome job yesterday of calming the alarming levels of hyperventilation by certain (less rigorous) elements of the media who were suggesting that some 50% of PCs are affected with malware. Yes, this figure is total and utter nonsense. Ed offers up some better statistics:
The actual number varies, depending on where you are in the world, but for Windows users who have automatic updates turned on, the worldwide average is somewhere between 1% and 2%. In my opinion, if you practice the basics of online security, the likelihood that your Windows PC is infected by malware is a tiny fraction of 1%.
But when invoking statistics, we gotta be careful. That whole if you practice the basics of online security, the likelihood that your Windows PC is infected by malware is a tiny fraction of 1% didnt sit well with me at the time I read it. Why? Because it felt like a statistic pulled out of the air and designed to give you a warm fuzzy feeling. After all, everyone thinks theyre smart, above average intelligence, above-average in look, and everyone thinks that they arent being idiots when it comes to security, so we can ALL feel happy and confident that WERE NOT in that tiny fraction of 1%.

Ahhh do you feel that nice warm fuzzy feeling yet?

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