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Virus Damage Worst on Record for August

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Thanks to the havoc that Sobig-F and the Blaster worms wreaked a few weeks ago, Augustreportedly has gone down as the worst month in digital history for virus attacks.

Last month, viruses, along with overt and covert hacker attacks, caused $32.8 billion ineconomic damages, according to a new report from mi2g, a digital risk assessment companybased in London. Mi2g also notes that the Sobig virus alone accounted for $29.7 billion ofeconomic damages worldwide.

''August damage figures tower well above all previous months since our records began in1995,'' says D.K. Matai, executive chairman of mi2g. ''The whole issue of trustworthycomputing is now at stake.''

Mi2g also reports that Sobig has become the most damaging virus on record, overtakingmalicious rivals Klez, Love Bug and Yaha. The Klez worm has been pushed to second place onthe infamous list, causing $13.9 billion worth of damage. The Love Bug is now in the thirdposition, accounting for $8.75 billion in damages.

Chris Belthoff, a senior security analyst with Sophos, Inc., an anti-virus company based inLynfield, Mass., says August will go down in the record books -- just as it will go down inthe memories of the anti-virus experts and IT managers who had to battle the virus onslaughtlast month.

''August 2003 will be remembered as one of the worst months in the history of computersecurity,'' says Belthoff. ''The Sobig-F worm clogged up inboxes and crippled networks withthe sheer volume of email traffic it produced. Users and companies should remain on guardand put systems in place to protect against future attacks.''

Sobig-F, the latest member of the malicious Sobig virus family, hit the Internet hard,flooding email servers and inboxes. Corporate networks staggered under the barrage withnetwork access slowing to a crawl, and some email systems being taken temporarily offline tostop the siege.

Sobig-F is designed to die out on Sep. 10. That's leading many analysts to suspect that thenext variant will hit on Sep. 11 or soon after. And if that variant builds on the malicioussuccess of Sobig-F, then the damage could be even worse.

With all that damage under its belt, it's no wonder that Sobig-F topped the charts for themost frequently occurring virus in August, according to both Sophos and Central Command,Inc., an anti-virus company based in Medina, Ohio.

Sophos has Blaster-A, Nachi-A, Mimail-A and Yaha-P rounding out the top five viruses.Central Command lists them as Blaster-A, MiMail-A, Nachi-A and Klez-E.

''The month of August turned into a plague of Internet worms affecting computer usersworldwide,'' says Steven Sundermeier, vice president of products and services at CentralCommand. ''

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