Sophos tech chief blasts ever-so-big virus claims

Wednesday, 3 September 2003, 1:45 PM EST

Recent computer viruses, such as MSBlaster, SoBig-F and Nachi-A cause much alarm, "but some of us today tend to be a little cynical about the figures quoted on the financial damage created", says Paul Ducklin, head of technology in Australia for a major anti-virus company.

He told delegates at an IT security conference in Melbourne yesterday that the LoveBug, which came out of the Philippines, took down systems all over the world and created considerable problems in Australia, "but I don't believe some of the figures that came out of the industry later that suggested that virus alone cost the world $US10 billion ($A15.5 billion)".

"Because there is a lot of excitement about computer viruses and computer security, particularly where hacking is involved, there are people in the aftermath who want the cost of these viruses to be seen as immensely high," said Mr Ducklin, who works for Sophos Anti-Virus, a British-based company with a research centre in Sydney.

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