The Bugbear virus is taking its toll on networks around the world, causing between $1.6 billion and $1.9 billion worth of damage so far.

Even though the virus is now ranked as the seventh most economically damaging malware on record, mi2g, a London-based risk assessment company, says it's in line to play catch-up -- quickly. Bugbear was first detected last year but saw a variant reemerge on June 5.

''New malware and new variants of existing malware are rising in 2003 and at present rates, 2003 is likely to be the worst year on record since 1997,'' says a spokesperson for mi2g.

As it stands today, Klez has caused the most financial damage with more than $12 million on record. The Love Bug, causing nearly $9 million in damages, is ranked in the second spot, and the Yaha worm, doing almost $5 million in damages, is third. Rounding out the top five places are Code Red with $2.6 million, and Sobig with $1.9 million.

Analysts at mi2g report that both Klez and Yaha remain active and continue to compile damage. Slammer, discovered in January, is ranked in the tenth spot.