CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


The attack of the $2 million worm

Researcher says business disruptions caused by viruses cost an average of nearly $2 million in lost revenue per incident.

Internet-based business disruptions triggered by worms and viruses are costing companies an average of nearly $2 million in lost revenue per incident, market researcher Aberdeen said on Tuesday.

Out of 162 companies contacted, 84 percent said their business operations have been disrupted and disabled by Internet security events during the last three years. Though the average rate of business operations disruption was one incident per year, about 15 percent of the surveyed companies said their operations had been halted and disabled more than seven times over a three-year period.

The portends for enterprises are alarming, given the increased use of the Internet for core business activities. About three-fourths of the companies contacted by Aberdeen indicated they are increasing online sales and customer service, 55 percent will do more procurement and sourcing through the Web, and 48 percent want to enhance online distribution and fulfillment activities.

"Increasing usage of the Internet for these core business functions means that business disruptions from Internet security can seriously impact a company's revenue," Aberdeen analyst Jim Hurley said in a release. The market researcher calculates that the median annual revenue loss rate can vary from $6,700 for a $10 million company to $20.1 million for a Global 5,000 company with $30 billion revenue.

The first six months of 2004 saw an increasing number of attacks on Internet security. Disruptive Internet agents that have raised the level of concern include worms, viruses, spyware, hacker attacks, denial-of-service attacks, attacks on e-mail and Web systems, and attacks on company data and applications. Some of the most malicious mass-mailing worms roaming the Net include the Bagle and Sasser worms. Security experts recently unearthed a pernicious pop-up program that reads keystrokes and steals passwords.

Most businesses are worried that their operations are exposed to Internet-based threats. For instance, 80 percent of survey respondents indicated that they're worried about network outages, 86 percent are worried about Internet security threats, 84 percent are worried about compromised IT systems; 85 percent are worried about compromises to data integrity; and 71 percent are worried about human errors that may lead to Internet business disruptions.