Viruses, other attacks cost businesses $7.6B: report –

Melissa, ExplorerZip.worm and other such malicious attacks hit businesses with a total of $7.6 billion in losses so far this year, according to Computer Economics Inc., an independent research and consulting firm that helps IT executives manage costs.

"I personally think this is a conservative estimate" because companies are constantly hit with viruses, said Michael Erbschloe, vice president of research. "Entire companies had to shut down their entire network from the outside world," and lost hours of working time, he said.

Erbschloe said the research firm questioned 185 companies out of the 2,000 it regularly watches. Out of those 2,000 companies, 82% are Fortune 500 firms, he said. Companies were asked how much it cost to eradicate the virus and the financial impact of lost productivity, he added.

Computer Economics predicted attacks would continue at their current rate -- and likely become more destructive. Organizations will shut down systems for longer periods and more workers will be impacted, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based research firm forecast.

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