Study Shows People Willing to Install Unknown Programs in PCs for a Dollar

Alex Co

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Study Shows People Willing to Install Unknown Programs in PCs for a Dollar


According to a report, 22 to 43 percent of people are willing to install unknown software on their devices in return for payment ranging from a few cents to a dollar.

In news that's kind of baffling, it seems a good number of people are willing to install unknown programs on their PCs for a little pocket change -- and I mean that literally. Nicolas Cristin who wrote the report [https://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/nicolasc/publications/CEVG-FC11.pdf], just 17 people out of 965 were running virtual machines that could limit the potential damage; and that only one person told him in the debrief that they were doing this on purpose.

Important to note that the study isn't done on a grand scale, so we don't know if a large consensus would react the same way. Nonetheless, it's never a good idea to install unknown software in your devices regardless of the incentive. And here I thought that malware had to be disguised as popular games for people to bite [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/132562-Bitcoin-Stealing-Malware-Found-In-Pirated-Angry-Birds-Software].

In somewhat related news, a cyberattack was traced to an infected fridge which we reported on early this year [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/131478-Cyberattack-Traced-To-Infected-Refrigerator], which sounds odder than it really is. Would you be willing to install programs in your devices for a sum? If so, how much would it take?

Source: Engadget [https://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/nicolasc/publications/CEVG-FC11.pdf]



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Alex Co

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In my experience people are willing to click through most things if it presents it's self right. Installing a hard .exe is a pretty extreme red-flag occurrence in these days of insecure Java and infected adverts you don't even need to click to get malware. I find it so surprising people would ignore blatant red flags though. Maybe it's because modern windows throws up so many alerts so often you become numb to them.

22-43% is an odd face figure to give range. I think you could better represent what percentage of people were willing to install for what price as the study has quite a wide range of scenarios.
 

frizzlebyte

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RedBackDragon said:
mindfaQ said:
In a sand box - sure.
or a virtual machine ... or that laptop that i never use but installed windows 2000 on for the laughs

:p
Or Windows ME. It almost deserves that kind of punishment.

Obligatory continuation: Really? That's a higher percentage of people willing to do that than it should be.
 

Britpoint

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Everyone has their price. Mine is the price of a slightly better PC than the one I'm putting at risk, so at least if I get infected I can bin it and get a free upgrade.

Having said that, I can't see "Please enter your bank information to receive payment" ending well for me.
 

Alex Co

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So most Computer uysers are idiots.. anyone who's ever worked techsupport could tell you this.
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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As a PC technician, I welcome the people who install this crap on their machines. A fool and their money are soon parted.
 

lacktheknack

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I'd be firmly in the NOPE crowd. Even though I know how to set up a virtual machine on a separate drive, it's still not worth the dollar.
 

PoolCleaningRobot

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Am I the only one impressed it's less than 50%?

Scrumpmonkey said:
I find it so surprising people would ignore blatant red flags though. Maybe it's because modern windows throws up so many alerts so often you become numb to them.
It's definitely this. Windows gives their stupid user account control warning even when installing Microsoft programs and drivers. There's no difference between Joe Smoe's apps and anything from a major publisher so why would anyone care?
 

McMullen

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PoolCleaningRobot said:
Am I the only one impressed it's less than 50%?

Scrumpmonkey said:
I find it so surprising people would ignore blatant red flags though. Maybe it's because modern windows throws up so many alerts so often you become numb to them.
It's definitely this. Windows gives their stupid user account control warning even when installing Microsoft programs and drivers. There's no difference between Joe Smoe's apps and anything from a major publisher so why would anyone care?
Oh it's even better; one of the first times I got a drive-by infection, UAC let it right in, and then tried to prevent me from removing the malware.

It also didn't prevent Google Earth from getting silently installed on one of my machines due to a bug in Google Update. I'm no longer sure what UAC is really for, to be honest.
 

senkus

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Well, at least people are consistent. If you did not change a single habit after the NSA leaks, you might as well let anyone into your digital life, especially if there is money involved. :)
 

PoolCleaningRobot

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McMullen said:
Oh it's even better; one of the first times I got a drive-by infection, UAC let it right in, and then tried to prevent me from removing the malware.

It also didn't prevent Google Earth from getting silently installed on one of my machines due to a bug in Google Update. I'm no longer sure what UAC is really for, to be honest.
As shameful as it is to admit, I got a pop up one time when I turned my pc on hastily clicked yes on it because it I thought it was some kind of update, but UAC didn't even pop up for a confirmation. Next thing I know, I was getting green hyperlinks in the text on webpage that link to ads. I figured I learn how to reinstall windows to get rid of it as my pc could have used a fresh start anyway. I'm building a new pc and I've been learning the ins and outs of Linux over the last few months so I'll probably just install Windows for games and use Linux in a virtual machine for everything else
 

loc978

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Certainly, on my old XP laptop from 2003. Still works, it's just too slow for flash these days.

I've also got an old installation of XP on a hard drive I can shove into my linux box temporarily to do it.

Ooh, come to think of it, I have a windows 7 laptop with a broken screen lying around useless. I'd do it with that and my HDMI monitor.

Also, I'd require at least a few hundred of the things at once (the full $1 ones) minimum to make it worth the time I'll spend running DBAN, formatting and reinstalling... but then I'd be willing to do it again. I could do that for a living, if advertisers would pay me to.
 

epicdwarf

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I am honestly not surprised. It seems that A LOT of people are completely ignorant to computer virus/malware being installed on their machine. Fun story: My mother's Ex and his kids managed to download a metric shit-ton of malware/virus filled software on her machine. It was all from free sound editing software, games, and tabs that she allowed them to download(although she would go ballistic when I would download safe programs like Steam). She had to get he computer professorially cleaned just to get most of them off.
 

ThreeKneeNick

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Does anyone take UAC seriously? It pops up way too often for me to take it seriously, and it's very vague.
I've installed "risky" software before, and windows problems are relatively easy to deal with, but I wouldn't do it on my phone.
 

Vigormortis

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Alex Co said:
Would you be willing to install programs in your devices for a sum?
Yes, if...

If so, how much would it take?
...I was paid an amount equal to or greater than the price of my rig at the time of purchase.

The way I see it, why risk a hard-drive format for a few bucks when I can risk a hard-drive format for a second computer of equal or better value?
 

Amir Kondori

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That is ridiculous. So much software out there and available on the web is already malicious, from "foistware" and "bundleware" to more serious threats like trojans and rootkits, why would you invite it by installing software you are getting paid $1 or less to install?
It will cost these fools much more money to get their computer cleaned up afterwards.

EDIT: I will say this, if someone offered me a large enough sum of money, say $50+, I would install the software in one of my virtual machines.
 

Remus

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Nov 24, 2012
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And this is why I'm constantly looking over my mom's shoulder when she's on her PC, or my nieces, or any other family member. I am the Yoda to their Luke. Patience they must have if game they want. Blindly click through windows they cannot.

I wouldn't blindly install software on my PC for any amount. I have a 500GB HD that's nearly full with the games I want, the programs I want... I really need to get a 1TB. My computer's stable, clean, has been for years. It runs better than PCs my family members buy new, because I built it, I maintain it, nobody else touches it.