Sponsor Robert Siciliano as he runs the Boston Marathon for Miles for Miracles, Children's Hospital Boston
ROBERT SICILIANO is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds.


Check here if you're human


Think You’re Protected? Think Again!

Pin It

In 1990, when only the government and a number of universities were using the Internet, there were 357 unique pieces of malware. The need for security began with desktop computing when the only means of compromising data was by inserting a contaminated floppy disk into a PC or opening an infected email attachment. That was the anti-virus era.

The need for security evolved with the Internet as more companies developed internal and external networks. That was the network security era.

Now as companies leverage the power of the web, information security has evolved yet again: We are in the application security era. And as big companies get better at locking down their software and protecting their data, criminals are targeting the little guy. Ordinary citizens’ every day digital lives are at risk via infected web pages, instant messaging, phishing, Smartphone viruses, text message scams and now hackers are targeting Macs in a big way.

In the past 20 years, e-commerce and social media have taken over. The numbers behind the explosive growth of cybercrime are astounding. In a little over two decades, we’ve gone from less than 500 pieces of malware to over 55 million annually. Cybercrime has evolved from nothing to a multibillion-dollar industry.

In 1995, 8069 unique pieces of malware were detected. One out of 20 emails were spam, and the Melissa virus infected hundreds of thousands.

In 2000, 56,342 unique pieces of malware were detected, mostly on PCs, but some began spreading to Macs. Then smartphones got the Cabir virus. The “I Love You” worm slithered its way onto millions of PCs, and the MyDoom worm slowed down the entire Internet by 10%, resulting in loses totaling 38 billion dollars.

In 2005, 164,000 unique pieces of malware were detected, including the first virus for Mac OS X and another 83 mobile viruses. 57 million U.S. adults fell for phishing scams via 17,877 different spoof websites. 80% of all email was spam. The Conficker worm, Zeus Trojan, Koobface, Applescript.THT, Storm botnet, and Ikee iPhone virus all made their debuts this year.

By 2010, 54 million unique pieces of malware were spreading to tablets, too. More than 90% of all email was spam. 27% of teens infected their families’ PCs with viruses in 2010. Almost 420,000 phishing sites were discovered. OpinionSpy, Boonana, and MacDefender infected Macs. Hackers commandeered Skype’s instant messaging service to deliver malware. The Gemini and Zitmo Trojans gathered location data and stole financial transaction information.

But if that’s not enough. In 2010, more than three million malicious websites were created, any one of which could infect your computer.

The question is are you protected? Are you using some free download by an unknown company to protect yourself? Or do you have a comprehensive multi layer approach to digital security protecting all your devices?

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee Consultant and Identity Theft Expert. See him discussing identity theft on YouTube. (Disclosures)


Check out this video to learn more about: The History of Malware








About the Author
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.

Similar Posts

  • What Are The Risks Of Mobile Spam?
    Spammers send unwanted emails or texts that are both annoying and frightening. Most spam messages are useless advertisements selling stuff you don’t need or want. In 1995, 8,069 unique pieces of malware were detected. One out of 20 emails were spam, and the Melissa virus infected hundreds of thousands. By 2010, 54 million unique pieces of malware were detected and
  • What is a Computer Worm?
    Worms. Most of us probably think of them as those squirmy invertebrates we dissected as a kid or found on the sidewalk after a storm. You might have used them as bait for fishing (not phishing), to pull a prank or have even eaten them (no judgment). Whether you like worms or not, there’s one kind
  • How Likely Am I to Be a Victim of Mobile Crime or Data Theft?
    Imagine your body being targeted by 100 million viruses. That is exactly what’s happening to your networked digital devices. Laptops, desktops, netbooks, Macs, iPads, iPhones, BlackBerrys, Androids and Symbian mobile phones are all at risk. Research from McAfee Labs™ reveals a variety of threats: Mobile: Android has become the most popular platform for mobile malware. Hundreds
  • A Good Decade for Cybercrime
    Cybercrime is one of the most successful and lucrative industries of our time, growing by double digits year after year. Over the last decade, cyber crooks have developed new and sophisticated ways to prey on an explosion of Internet users, with little danger of being caught. Meanwhile, consumers face greater risks to their money and
  • Myth: Apple Products Don’t Get Viruses
    Have you ever bitten into an apple and found a worm? I have, and it’s yummy! Anyway, how many times have you heard, or even said, “I won’t get that computer virus because I have a Mac”?  While Mac users tend to feel somewhat insulated from viruses, it’s time for anyone who owns an Apple

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Xtreme School

Featured in

Anderson Cooper John Stossel Robert Siciliano Featured in
Browse by Month

Browse by Category