Truth About Computer Security Hysteria
Computer Economics, Inc.
Tuesday, 30 May 2000
COMPUTER ECONOMICS, INC. stopped declaring virus damage estimates as of three weeks ago. However,
I predict their pattern behavior will re-emerge before Bobby Knight's does.
The firm rose to great heights in security circles when they slapped a
$7.6 billion price tag on
viruses worldwide for the first half of 1999. They followed up in January with a
$12.1 billion price tag for
total virus damage throughout 1999. Computer Economics then declared
$2.61 billion for
ILoveYou the day after it struck, with later updates of
$4.7 billion and
$6.7 billion in damages.
I criticized antivirus vendors last month, and the media
this month, for citing Computer Economics' absurdly accurate guesstimates.
"The very people who
didn't bother to collect virus data for the first 14 years somehow
came up with intricate metrics and empirical evidence just a few hours after the [ILoveYou] virus
made its debut," I observed. "From this, Computer Economics calculated damages with a worldwide accuracy
of ±$10 million."
Computer Economics paid Business Wire to distribute yet another press release when NewLove
surfaced. They even titled it "Computer Viruses: The Anatomy of Damage Calculations." However, the firm
didn't actually make a guess this time. They instead issued a
"spin control" press release
touting their abacus skills. Computer Economics still urges reporters to call "for the latest financial
assessment," yet three weeks passed with no updated figures.
Computer Economics, Inc. didn't make an absurdly accurate guess for NewLove or
KillerRésumé. A recent "damage control" press release instead just touted their
abacus skills. I take full credit for this turn of events.
No one else in the security world declared a guesstimate, either. I take full credit for
this turn of events — and I get extra credit for the spin control press release.
I doubt Computer Economics can hold out much longer, though. Few can resist the aphrodisiac of free publicity.
Mark my words: they will declare another virus damage figure, and I predict it'll debut no later than
I'll need to keep on my toes with Computer Economics. They keep score, you know.
Mark my words: Computer Economics will issue another damage estimate. Few can resist the
aphrodisiac of free publicity.