I was doing some writing about the Samy worm last night in the XSS book and after doing some looking into the growth pattern of the worm (which I don’t think anyone has bothered to do) I was able to come up with a rough estimation of the acceleration of growth. Thanks to Samy for diligently writing down times and numbers. Granted those times and numbers are probably rough estimates, and the last entry, which is probably the most important to calculating this was not entered (bummer). Only “a few minutes” was marked for that last entry, so it’s difficult to say what it would have looked like. I put four minutes as less than 5 and greater than three for the worst case since no one really knows.
The are a few interesting points to note here. Firstly is not just that it had a super slow growth but that the point at which it became explosive in growth was somewhere just north of 8000 users who were infected. Further, if you look at the last two bullets (granted the last one is a guess) it appears that there is still an increase in acceleration of growth. That means that while the Samy worm was bad, it was no where near as bad as it could have been if it had been allowed to spread naturally. That insane growth scale is pretty unheard of, so it’s an interesting thing to see written out in this way.