Messenger Plus! hits 14 million active users
Patchou announced today that MP! now has 14 million active users.
Of course, I congratulate Patchou on reaching such a milestone - it is an amazing success for a 'one man band'.
Patchou's announcement about his current active user count is an opportune time to ponder why I've been writing about, and have been so critical of, the sponsor program for so long.
We don't know how many of the MP! active users are running the Sponsor Program. We don't know how many of them are running older versions of Windows or IE that are vulnerable to the various tricks that the Winfixer crowd use to infect systems with their malware. We don't know how many believe the lies or fall for the social engineering tricks that the Winfixer adverts use to frighten and convince users to install the malware. But we do know this. Such a large user base is a very juicy target for the bad guys and is why I am, and have been, so determined to get Winfixer and other malware out of the sponsor program advertisements, and why the bad guys are so determined to sneak through and get their ads displayed.
Its been an interesting journey, watching how determined the winfixer gang have been to get their malware on as many machines as possible, and recording the various tricks they use.
As a reminder, CiD have taken steps to try and block Winfixer at the gate by editing the HOSTS file on all machines running the Sponsor Program - its a small step, but an important one. Unfortunately, I don't know if the CiD have only changed the HOSTS file for MP! users or on all systems that have their software installed - I'm hoping for the latter, but suspect it is the former.
I'll keep watching the Sponsor Program, even with the HOSTS file in place, because I'm sure the winfixer pushers will try to bypass the new protections, and you can be sure that whatever tricks they use to get past the Sponsor Program defences will also be used elsewhere.