Truth About Computer Security Hysteria
Another poll embarrasses the fearmongers (part 2)
Thursday, 18 May 2000
I HOPE SOMEONE does a parody of the new Eminem song. "May I have your attention please? Will the real virus author please stand up? I repeat, will the real virus author please stand up? We're gonna have a problem here..."
Two more ILoveYou surveys conflict with fearmongers' claims. A whopping 38% of respondents in a Windows 2000 Magazine poll said "my company was not directly affected by the virus." Another whopping 37% said "the virus created only a minor inconvenience."
Statistics, anyone? Three-fourths of the respondents either didn't see ILoveYou at all or kissed it off as a nuisance. Only 5% claimed "the virus inflicted very serious damage," while 19% asserted "the virus inflicted moderate damage" at their company.
"But Rob," you plead, "this poll and the CNN.com poll are unscientific!" Fair enough; let's switch to a real poll taken by the folks at InterSurvey. They claim with 95% certainty their poll has a margin of error of ±3.6 percentage points.
InterSurvey discovered 92% of Americans knew about ILoveYou in just four days' time. "However, despite the extensive reports of computer system damage, only 12 percent of a representative sample of the American public experienced any direct impact from the virus." In other words, Tom Brokaw's report on the death of the Internet was greatly exaggerated.
We'd all prefer a flatline when it comes to damages — but let's see a show of hands here. Who thinks we recovered from this latest death knell waaaay too soon?
Two more surveys show a clear majority of users either didn't see ILoveYou at all or kissed it off as a nuisance. In other words, Tom Brokaw's report on the death of the Internet was greatly exaggerated.