Kurioza naukowe / Scientific curiosities ISSN 1176-7545 No 947

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Virus costs (1).

The number of home computers (PC’s) that are used worldwide is huge, even worrying. Currently, there are about 600 million and it is estimated that in the year 2010, this number will exceed 1.3 billion. This number is doubled again when we include computers in offices, institutes, companies, armies, gangs, terrorist organizations etc.
It is not know why the most computerized citizens are those of the tiny republic of San Marino, averaging 738 computers per 1000 people. Americans are in second place (574 per 1000 citizens), with Scandinavian countries not far behind and Australia in the first ten with 460 per 1000. On a world wide scale, one in every ten people uses a computer, this figure includes countries such as Chad and Bolivia as well as children, the elderly, the illiterate etc.
Currently, just like all aspects of human existence, computers and the internet are infested with horrible diseases, for which practically there is no cure. There are times when 70% of internet mail is made up of spam, email viruses, Trojan horses, worms or specific internet pediculosis. A couple of minutes after connecting to the internet, an unprotected computer will ‘catch’ a virus, sometimes a very dangerous one for data or the programs being used. It’s come to the point that an internet dependent computer user may need two or three separate computers just to safeguard against harm. One for work, sterile and isolated from the outside world to which information can only be transferred to once it has been carefully checked. Another one that is connected to the internet with all possible anti-viral software and safeguarded by a ‘ghost’. If something should happen, one can start the computer from scratch. But all of this takes time and money, and of course nerves.
About 10% of computers are yhe avant-garde exposed to direct threats. If we estimate that an average computer costs approximately $500 US, already we have unnecessarily spent $US 30 billion globally. The cost of an average quality anti viral software programme, which are being installed on more and more computers (probably on over 50% of all computers) is at least $US 100. Thus we have a huge sum, another $US 30 billion that has been spent unnecessarily due to pests. Together, private users of the interntet have losses that exceed $US 60 billion (not including the costs of prolonged use of connections, phones etc). To this we must also add the huge costs incurred by institutions, companies, state and international organization, armies and manufacturers. 
In total, humankind looses many hundreds of billions of dollars due to internet pests. It is interesting to compare this figure to the budgets of countries, or organizations, or the costs of feeding a third world country. The building of a world class hospital from scratch, fully equipped and the yearly running costs in the range of $US 300 000 000. Similarly for the construction and running of a good university.

[QZD05::033];[QNT81::043];[QRE15::108]109,117

 
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© R. Antoszewski
Titirangi, Auckland, 
Nowa Zelandia


marzec 2005

v.55

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