How Many Machines Do Malicious Hackers Control?

from the let's-try-that-again dept

I saw a couple stories earlier in the week about a report claiming that malicious hackers currently “own” over 3 million computers out there. This number seemed pretty damn high, and so it’s good to see someone debunking the numbers. The original report found anecdotal evidence that the “average” hacker controls 600 to 800 machines. However, knowing just how much hackers like to boast, I’d bet this number is quite a bit lower. Next, the study estimated that there were 1,000 hacker “groups”, each of which had approximately 5 hackers – and then did the math. I’d argue that these numbers are a bit high as well, and I doubt that every hacker in each of these hacker groups actually controls that many machines. Furthermore, all of this assumes that there isn’t a single repeat machine in the bunch. They’re basically saying, if one hacker found a vulnerability and took over the machine, then suddenly it’s off limits to other hackers – which is clearly not true. Also, of the “hacking groups” discussed, I wonder how many are actually focused on continually controlling a machine, and how many are just exploring. Overall, the 3 million number seems to just be there to spread some fear, and try to drum up some business for the company who did the study who (surprise, surprise) is in the business of securing computer systems.

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