By far the number one question I get from customers is “Why do people write viruses?” Most people are totally mystified as to why someone would do it. First lets clear up one thing a ton of people do not understand; you are not the target, your computer is. Unless you are a Chinese protester Have some information useful to the CIA, or are working in Iranian uranium enrichment facility you are probably not of interest to anyone.
In some cases they might be after your information. However the majority of the time they simply want your computers internet connection and computing power to perform tasks for them. To either infect other computers, click on ads for them, send out spam e-mails which try to get people to buy bogus products…
Also despite what conspiracy minded people like to think, the people who sell anti-virus programs are not the ones writing viruses.
As Brian Krebs has pointed out wonderfully
nearly every aspect of a hacked computer and a user’s online life can be and has been commoditized. If it has value and can be resold, you can be sure there is a service or product offered in the cybercriminal underground to monetize it. I haven’t yet found an exception to this rule.”
Have a Facebook account, they want that to SEO spam links, or to post links to infect your friends, so your accounts can post more links generating more clicks, or trick your friends into installing hostageware. Remember in the online world clicks equal revenue. Either directly through ad programs, selling DDoS attacks… Being able to use a computer that is connected to the internet is valuable. Being able to control a million computers connected to the internet is an almost limitless source of revenue. That is mostly what they are after.
Brian has more info and a very nice infographic on this at his site:
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