The global impact of anti-malware protection state on infection rates

Joe Blackbird Microsoft
Bill Pfeifer Microsoft

This paper analyses the malware infection rates of computers with various states of anti-malware protection. Specifically, it compares the infection rates of computers with no anti-malware protection, to those with anti-malware protection running with out-of-date signatures, to those with up-to-date anti-malware. The role of cloud-based protection is also evaluated.

We also analyse how the frequency of users switching from one anti-malware vendor to another impacts infection rates, which will allow a comparison between the effectiveness of a heterogeneous anti-malware ecosystem and a single-vendor monoculture. Finally, we take a cursory look into what threshold of users that run anti-malware products would be required to produce a 'herd immunity' of all users such that malware authors struggle to maintain efficacy.

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