More On Damage Estimates And The Myth-Making Urge
It was bound to happen, and it always pays to be first: Who’s going to estimate how much damage MyDoom did?
Rob Rosenberger, editor of Vmyths, predicted it right: The winner is British security consultant mi2g, which reckons the damage will cost us all $38.5 billion. That’s a lot of cash. Vmyths is not impressed, dismissing it as ‘completely absurd’, and pointing to its previous reports on the company’s statements. Mi2g, it should be pointed out, has threatened to sue Vmyths in the past, so perhaps we’ll see a robust rebuttal.
I’m not able to explore how mi2g got their figure, since the full text of the report must be bought — for £29.38 including taxes — unless you’re a member of their Inner Sanctum (which costs £352.50 per quarter). Would buying that report be included in the estimated overall cost of MyDoom? (I did request a review copy, but my email to the form-based contact page bounced, ominously).
Reporters, Vmyths say, have already picked up the figure: It points to a report in The Web Host Industry Review, and adds it believes “major media outlets will fall like dominoes — mi2g’s declaration is simply too large for them to ignore”. Rob may be right, again: TechWeb have also picked it up, but so far nothing from the major agencies.
I have to agree with Rob that these kind of estimates are a bit too headline-grabbing to be useful. Anything with a figure in tends to be too much for a reporter to ignore. Mi2g, for its part, has been assiduously estimating the cost since it first appeared: $400 million on January 27, doubling later the same day, $3 billion the next day, before leaping to $19 billion the day after that.
Talking of which, I never got any further to establishing whether a figure of $55 billion attributed to a Trend Micro spokesman for the cost of viruses last year was real or an error (and if so, an error by the reporter or by Trend Micro). Funny how the PR people go to earth when they’re grappling with tricky questions.