The cost of Malware

According to Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt the internet’s biggest problems are:

  • Hackers and cybercriminals
  • No delete button
  • Censorship

It should be no surprise to us that hackers and cybercriminals made it to number one on this list, although I must say I was surprised to see that lack of the delete button was such a major issue. Many of us have seen if not experienced the damage, which can be caused by cyber criminals. The fact that we have antivirus programs running on our computers is evidence of their presence.

Let’s take a quick look at one their main tools used to commit cybercrime. Malware!! The name says it all. The word malware is a short form for malicious software. I’m from a French creole persuasion and the first part of the world “Mal” means something ‘bad’. So yes, malware will definitely do bad things to you. So let’s take a quick look at some of these bad things: Viruses, Worms and Trojan horses (not a condom). I promise you that if your use this Trojan, you WILL get infected with some virus. Your only safety is to abstain.

From the year 2004 we’ve seen a dramatic increase in malicious programs ranging in the 100 million. But what is the cost of such large a large increase in malware?

Yea, it not much you say, just $29.99 for a top of the line antivirus program, right? Hey for me it’s free because I’m running the Avast free version.

Only if this was the case!!

Symantec says we spend $110 billion annually on malware damage while McAfee says $1 trillion. Now there sure is a large error between the two reports, but the point is that malware is costing us lots of money. Though these criminals who release those viruses get the personal information (credit cards, SSN, passwords) of us every day regular folks, this financial damage is the result of damages caused to businesses. For a large multi-national firm or business, a virus attack that may affect the computer systems for one or two days is millions of dollars lost. Therefore if you didn’t know, guess what?  Malware is expensive!!

 How to protect yourself

  1. Use an antivirus software
  2. Do not pirate software- you can get infected by viruses and Trojans
  3. Be careful when opening attachments
  4. Click with care! Avoid visiting infected websites
  5. Enable your firewall
  6. Keep current with operating system updates

References

Hyman, P. (2013). Cybercrime: it’s serious, but exactly how serious?. Communications of the ACM, 56(3), 18-20.

http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/staggering-cost-malware-now-over-100-billion-023014986.html

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