The Founder Myth

While I am a voracious reader, I am by no means a writer or blogger, especially not for public consumption. My introverted character usually prevents me from sharing lots of information with others, but I thought it would be a good idea to write a few lines for our new website.

Welcome to our new website! One of the most common questions I get during discussions is how I started collecting malware and why I decided to build a business around it. I understand that this is not a typical business, and I will try to tell my story.

Back in the late 80's when my teen peers were into girls, music, and the latest fashions, I grew a liking for computers. Quickly getting bored of playing games, I started looking more and more into how these machines operated. I spent countless hours teaching myself the inner workings of my home computer, typing code from magazines to have access to things like disassemblers.

Around this time, I also realized I liked collecting things, but differently than most people. When the Brain virus made an appearance in 1986, followed by the Morris worm in 1988, my hobby of collecting computer games turned into obsessively collecting malware. Starting in the early 90's I was mainly into viruses but switched to collecting trojans when Back Orifice, NetBus & Sub7 were released. Fuelled by my mild OCD, I was furiously scouring the net for all the different versions of the files in my collection, from early alpha versions to exotic, private releases.

Between 2000-2010, my hobby had grown to a database of more than 100.000 files, but it was still very much a hobby. I was happily working as an IT analyst in Europe, and building a business around malware was the furthest thing from my mind. So how did it all start?

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There is a slightly Hitchcockian story behind the setting up of the business, as it all started with a fateful discussion on a Eurostar train. On the train, I had met a technical rep from a company that was in the process of adding the finishing touches to a content-filtering device. He explained that they had experienced a sea of problems testing the device simply because they could not get their hands on enough malware to verify its full functionality

The developers had approached some anti-virus companies to ask for sample sets for testing but got stonewalled. After listening to the man’s experiences, I started thinking: what if I could develop a business model that would give security researchers the room to concentrate on developing solutions instead of spending a lot of time tracking down malware samples?

After some thought, we created our company with the following core ideology in mind:

  • Give security researchers the room to concentrate on developing solutions instead of spending valuable time tracking down malware samples.
  • Provide a mainstream security industry with a reputable research & development resource.
  • Cater for security providers that fall outside of the core circle of antivirus vendors
  • Provide quality data for a fair price, to stimulate technology & innovation.

The rest is history, as they say. Since our humble beginnings in 2010, when we collected between 20.000-100.000 samples per day, we have grown the business over the years through various changes and iterations. We now collect close to 2.000.000 files every day, and I am happy to see that some of our earliest customers 10+ years ago are still with us to this day, be it under a different name or umbrella.

Personally, I am just amazed at the high quality of your samples. It is really extraordinary.  Thank you for all of your great work!

It is great to see that while most of our large customers subscribe to well-known, enterprise-grade feeds and services, they keep coming back to us and renew year after year. Be it our mission, vision, or attractive price-point, we will strive to be your data partner in the years to come.

If you would like to check out the service, feel free to give our data feeds a spin with a 10-day trial - no strings attached.