Computer Viruses have plagued our modern world since their creation. The first computer virus was created in 1949 when John von Neumann created the first self-replicating programs. Although this is dissimilar from the computer viruses we are familiar with today, it was an interesting theory which he published in his article titled the “Theory of Self-Replicating Automata”. Since then, computer viruses have grown and evolved as fast, or even faster than the internet and other technology has. Computer viruses can make a modern business less productive, resulting in an immense loss of man-hours that cannot be recovered. According to an InformationWeek report found in the “Emerging Research Directions in Computer Science”, worldwide, an estimated 1.6 trillion dollars was lost in 2000 due to hacker attacks. This number has certainly grown since the said report, however, it has not grown exponentially as expected due to people becoming more educated in avoiding scams and protecting their information.
Computer viruses have however, created an economic niche for antivirus and other protective software companies such as MacAfee, Norton Antivirus, and MyComputerWorks.com who sell software and offer assistance that helps identify and prevent computer viruses from infiltrating a computer system. According to Garner.com, the software security industry was worth a total of $21.4 billion in 2014. Without the growing threat of cyber-attacks and hackers in the form of malware and viruses, these companies have made billions of dollars selling their software that gives consumers the peace at mind that their data and files are safe. Computer viruses can, however, negatively impact our economy as well.
The resultant of the increased threat of computer viruses is that the demand for computer security specialists have increased exponentially. As the rate of attacks increases, companies contact potentially recruiting spots such as colleges and technical schools to teach and then recruit students who have recently graduated so they can learn the ends and outs of computer programming and ultimately computer security. This indirectly affects the economy because now, we have a large group of people who use and understand coding, which can then translate to other technologically advanced careers. These kind of jobs are in high demand as technology is growing faster by the year. Many of these computer science majors go one to run successful companies and create things that are in high demand, be it phone applications or computer software.
Although computer viruses hurt millions of people every year, they also positively affect the economy through promoting new jobs and careers in the computer industry as new companies such as My Computer Works ®. The economic gain that is facilitated by antivirus software companies far outweighs how much money is lost every year through viruses and other types of malware.