Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

Economic cost of the support@microsoft.com virus

Those wacky virus people have done it again. The big@boss.com virus (W32.Sobig.A@mm) has mutated into the support@microsoft.com virus (W32.Sobig.B@mm).

Ariella and I were chatting about this over lunch. She suggested that if the government simply bought the rights to distribute Norton Antivirus and legislated that it be installed on all computers, we could do the economy some good. Congress would probably be a little reluctant to write a check for $8 billion (back-of-the envelope calculation: ~200 million Windows PCs times $40 a copy), but it would probably pay off over the long term. The Slammer virus alone apparently cost $1.2 billion in lost productivity. And that was just in the first 5 days alone!

Think about it. The US Postal Service checks our snail mail for Anthrax. Why shouldn’t the government check our e-mail for viruses?

In the meantime, perhaps we should invest in some SYMC.