How much malware has arrived since 1984?

A little less than 70 million, says AV-Test

If anyone has ever wondered why antivirus companies insist that Windows consumers should be using antivirus, German outfit AV-Test has delivered a graph showing why.

There are now 68.3 million individual pieces of malware out there, according to a spreadsheet showing the total number of individual malware that has arrived in the past 28 years of computing history, the test lab sent CSO.com.au.

That’s a huge jump from 1984, the year it started counting, when in December of that year a mere 12 appeared.

Since then, the number of new malware that has arrived has exploded.

Windows users could still party like it was 1999 that year, with just 579,026 pieces of malware to be wary of.

From there it took just three years to roughly double to 1.1 million, and then double again by 2006 to 2.8 million.

Then, in 2007, the malware scene exploded, quadrupling to 8.7 million individual pieces. It was the year Windows Vista was released, and obviously a time when its predecessor, Windows XP had reached critical mass, with more than 400 million copies distributed across the world.

Four years on, in 2011, the malware count was astronomical, hitting 64.8 million.

And 2012 is now showing signs of slowing down, with monthly figures for malware the same as or higher than 2011, leaving the total count up to March 2012 at 68.3 million.

Here’s a graph to show the exponential growth in malware since the early days when, arguably, using antivirus was not necessary.

Source: AV-Test: http://www.av-test.org/en/statistics/malware/

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