I don’t usually subscribe to conspiracy theories, and the last thing I would ever want to do is create one.
That being said, I have often wondered to myself whether the antivirus software companies could be creating malware and spreading it over the Internet in order to perpetuate the demand for their products.
If you think about it, an ever-replenishing supply of new malware is essential to the overall health and future growth of the antivirus software industry.
If malware were to ever become a thing of the past (and I don’t believe it will), there would be no further need for us to have antivirus software running on our machines – and that would put the antivirus software companies out of business.
I had always intended to keep these thoughts to myself until I ran across this Reuter’s report from a few years back.
In a nutshell, the report details claims by a pair of former employees that Kaspersky Labs distributed malware that caused their rivals’ antivirus software to create false positives and quarantine files on users’ machines that were actually safe.
The former employees say that Kaspersky intentionally released malicious code into the wild that altered various files in a way that would cause the security software created by other companies to flag benign files as malicious and quarantine them, sometimes causing issues with system instability and data loss.
It’s hard to tell whether the claims are legitimate or simply intended as retribution against a former employer, but I suspect that they are likely true.
If that turns out to indeed be the case, it could potentially destroy the Kaspersky company and damage the reputation of the entire anti-malware software industry.
After all, if a company is willing to create and distribute malicious software in order to harm its competitors, it doesn’t require much of a stretch to believe they would also create and distribute actual viruses in order to maintain and enhance demand for their own products.
What’s your opinion? Do you believe antivirus software vendors release new viruses into the wild to prop up and expand their business?
Bonus tip: This post explains how to completely rid your PC of viruses and other forms of malware.