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Code Red cost $2.6 billion worldwide

Computer Economics, a US based independent internet research company, has published the results of its research into the impact on the global economy of Code Red and other computer viruses. It estimates that Code Red cost $2.6 billion (£1.8 billion) in economic impact when it this year affected over one million computer systems worldwide.05 Sep 2001

Of that $2.6 billion, around $1.1 billion was spent in cleaning up infected computer systems and returning them to normal service, as well as inspecting over 8 million servers to determine the need for patches.

The remaining $1.5 billion was lost through the negative impact which Code Red produced on the productivity levels of system users, support staff, helpdesk staff, and IT staff, as well as the negative impact on customers.

The company estimates that computer viruses have this year cost worldwide economies around $10.7 billion so far. This compares to a figure of $17.1 billion in 2000 and $12.1 billion in 1999. Economic impact was measured in this case by calculating the costs of cleaning viruses from servers, networks, and clients’ systems, restoring lost or damaged files, and the lost worker productivity through downtime etc.

The virus which caused the single biggest economic impact, according to Computer Economics, was the Love Bug, which struck systems in May 2000. The estimated total cost of over 50 variants of the virus was $8.7 billion.