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Security Firm: SoBig.f Windows Virus Damages Hit US$5.59 Billion

Security Firm: SoBig.f Windows Virus Damages Hit US$5.59 Billion

by , 11:00 AM EDT, August 27th, 2003

In an article TMO published yesterday, we pointed to an estimate of damages caused by the latest Windows virus, SoBig.f, that places the cost of lost productivity relating to the virus at somewhere between US$500 million and a cool billion. Late last night, however, we received a press release from mi2g that estimates those damages to be far higher, at more than US$5.5 billion. The information was contained in mi2g's report on covert and overt digital attacks in August. From that press release:

This month has seen widespread disruption resulting from two major malware outbreaks - MSblast released in mid-August and after that, the Sobig virus, the latest strain of which was released about a week ago. All the strains of Sobig have caused an estimated $5.59 billion of economic damage according to the mi2g Intelligence Unit, making Sobig the fourth most damaging virus family ever. Sobig remains below the Klez malware, which has caused $13.92 billion of economic damage worldwide so far and is ranked number 1, as well as Love Bug ranked number 2 ($8.75 billion) and Yaha at number 3 ($6.32 billion).

mi2G is a security firm out of the UK that regularly tracks covert and overt attacks on the Internet, offers threat assessments on new threats to corporate and governments, and keeps tabs on such related issues as lost productivity from virus attacks.

Last year, mi2g released a report that said the Mac platform was the least vulnerable to attack, suffering from some .05% of total attacks in 2002, though having some 3% of the total market. That same report pointed to platforms with a lower market share than Apple's that suffered a much bigger percentage of total digital attacks. Note that in the comments of yesterday's TMO article, a wave of trolls suggested that Apple's defense was security-through-obscurity, though the data released by mi2g last year doesn't support such a notion. See our full coverage for more information.

In related news, and as an example of what is meant by lost-productivity, the University of Nebraska has apparently had so many problems with SoBig.f that it has had to threaten to close the student network if it can't get students to patch their Windows machines.

You can find more information on mi2g at the company's Web site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

SoBig.f hasn't been out that long, and it's already caused more than US$5 billion in lost productivity and damages? That's stunning. See our Spin from yesterday's article for more extended commentary on this notion, but then multiply those comments by a factor of five and half.

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