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Truth about computer security hysteria
Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

Bartender! A remedial math course for everyone

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Friday, 22 June 2001 As read by the author (MP3) NO ANTIVIRUS EXPERT contested my "38 man-years of hysteria" column. Not one! Does everybody in this industry accept wild guesstimates at face value? Let me show you how I calculated one man-year: "...divided by 60 minutes, divided by 24 hours, divided by 350 days..."
The results of my experiment are disturbing. The antivirus industry needs a remedial math course.
I came up with 38 man-years for a reason, folks. I'm 38 years old and I'm a man! "38 man-years," get it? Mind you, it took some effort to get the value I wanted for my column. But I left an obvious clue for antivirus experts. Ask yourself: who works 24 hours a day? (Besides antivirus experts, I mean.) I thought I'd hear right away from my detractors in the industry. But to quote Dilbert: "the results of my experiment are disturbing." My colleagues need a remedial math course. Ah well, at least some Vmyths.com readers noticed it. Congrats to Tim Curwick for writing first to ask "are there 24 man-hours in a man-day, or only 8? 365 man-days in a man-year, or only 261?" The subject line of his email said it all: "140 man-years." I should note Curwick & others caught a real math error on my part. I included weekends in my man-years! Duh. Only our men in uniform work 24/7, but they at least get 30 days off each year for good behavior. Yep, I screwed up. Then again, my "error" didn't really make a difference here. I would've changed other numbers just to get 38 man-years as a final result. Ha! Still, I want to thank the Vmyths.com readers who noticed it. You guys should work in the antivirus industry. (Heaven knows we need your help.) Now for the kicker — I didn't check Curwick's figure. I'll leave it as an exercise in algebra for the antivirus industry. Once they graduate from remedial math, of course...