April 4, 2004
To whom it may concern,
Right now in America, more than half a million computers are infected with viruses according to CERT. My 27+ years of experience in computer services shows this to be a gross understatement with numbers more likely to be well in excess of several million.
Last year alone, Symantec estimated the cost to American businesses to be $55 Billion; a number which represents over $150 for every man, woman and child in America. Other sources have estimated figures in the hundreds of billions, particularly if one includes losses not directly due to the viruses themselves. The great blackout, for example, was made far worse by the Blaster worm as it had flooded numerous E-mail servers and delayed critical messages by as much as 45 minutes.
The authors of computer viruses have become far more sophisticated and several are now organizations being funded by terrorists. They represent a threat that is recognized by the Department of Homeland Security as one of the top threats to the very fabric of our society.
So far, we have been extremely lucky that, for whatever reason, the authors of several very successful viruses have not wielded the power that was in their hands. Nimda, at it's peak, infected as many as 35 million computers and every one of them could have been wiped clean with one simple broadcast on the internet. Thousands of truckers would have lost their schedules, warehouses their inventories, gas stations unable to turn on their pumps.... The list goes on, and on, and the repercussions of such an event would, quite literally, far exceede the tragedy of the World Trade Center.
The root cause of this problem is a lack of public awareness and understanding. Small businesses and home computer users, as a whole, do not understand the nature of the problem, the mechanisms that have made them the unwitting accomplisses of terrorists, nor the incredible simplicity of what is needed to overcome it.
Please help me to educate them. I have produced a website, computervirushelp.com. Help me to polish it editorially; help me to promote awareness of it's existence; help me to solve the problem of computer viruses before the catastrophe happens.
I am not invested in this effort for my personal gain. I am, in fact, saddened, dismayed, and angry each time I encounter yet another computer which has been ravaged; saddened by the loss to the user or business, dismayed that so few have been taught what they need to know, and angry that most of my colleagues do nothing for the users that depend on them.
Symantec and others estimate that the cost of computer viruses will continue to double each year. That, alone, makes it a subject needing massive media attention; both of the problem and the cure. It may seem cliche; but it is not a matter of if there will be a devastating computer virus attack, it's a matter of when.
If you have any questions or I can help in any way, please feel free to contact me by Email or by phone.
© Davis M McCarn 2004 All Rights Reserved