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Windows Malware and Gambling Industry Have the Same 20 Year CAGR

by John Pescatore  |  March 2, 2011  |  1 Comment

Great piece in Network World on the history of Windows malware.  Many trying to hype up “polymorphic” malware and malware using encryption today, but that was done long ago, too.  Plus, there has been an important constant over those two decades – people acting like people.  He ends the piece like this:

But the most prolific vector for malware innovation will likely reside in social engineering. After all, while it’s getting harder to crack Windows programs, it’s as easy as ever to attack the weakest link: the one between users’ ears. Look for more cons, more fake “Windows tech support” calls, and more bewildered users who will gladly give out sensitive information to anyone who claims they can help fix things.

Windows malware has changed a lot in the past 20 years. People haven’t.

In the SANS Newsbites, my equivalent was:

Editor’s Note (Pescatore): As long as casinos and gambling continue to be a huge industry, you can be sure that social engineering attacks will always succeed – people will be people. As long as people act like people and have to collaborate with other people to get the job done, there will be vulnerability to insider threats.

In the latest data I can find, the American Gaming Association reports that gambling (or what they call “gaming” ) revenue grew from $61B to $92B from 2000 to 2007. Looks like the recession may have slowed growth rates in 2009 and 2010, but many reports show growth returning in 2011. People seem still to be lining up at slot machines that sport large signs saying “Guaranteed to return 98% of your money” and despite 20 years of user “awareness and education” users will still click on links that say “Have you heard what Charlie Sheen just did?!??”

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John Pescatore
VP Distinguished Analyst
11 years at Gartner
32 years IT industry

John Pescatore is a vice president and research fellow in Gartner Research. Mr. Pescatore has 32 years of experience in computer, network and information security. Prior to joining Gartner, Mr. Pescatore was senior consultant for Entrust Technologies and Trusted Information Systems… Read Full Bio


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