Computer Viruses: How Serious Is the Threat?

August 2007
by Reid Goldsborough

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Computer Viruses: How Serious
Is the Threat?


by Reid Goldsborough


“My computer is acting up. It
must be a virus.” You’ve undoubtedly heard comments like this, or even thought
this yourself. In fact, most computer glitches are caused by software conflicts
or user error.


Viruses aren’t as common as other
computer problems. They’re found in about 0.15 percent of emails, according to
the latest figures from MessageLabs (, a provider of
Internet security products that analyzes more than 180 million emails worldwide
each day for its business clients.


That makes viruses less prevalent
than phishing attacks that try to trick you into revealing your credit card,
banking, or other personal information, which make up about 0.45 percent of
emails. And viruses are far less prevalent than the most common email problem,
which is still spam—those unsolicited, untargeted commercial messages sent in
bulk that constitute a whopping 44.96 percent of all emails.




But viruses do get a lot of
attention, and it’s easy to see why. They have an ominous and mysterious aura.
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