A Continental War on Computer Viruses
Fort Lauderdale computer repair technicians spend a lot of time dealing with machines infected with computer viruses, and trying to prevent those infections in the first place.
But while western countries know how to mitigate the threat of computer viruses, at least partially developing countries have become breeding grounds for attacks.
Africa in particular has become a hive of trojans, worms and exploiters of all stripes. As PC use on the continent has spread in the past decade, viruses have hitched a ride.
As Ft. Lauderdale computer services experience on a daily basis, this wreaking havoc on development efforts, government programs and fledgling businesses.
Only the scope - and the toll - are much more devastating.
"It wouldn't be unreasonable to say 80 percent of all computers you find in Africa will have some nastiness on them," says one IT support officer in Africa.
This compares to around 30 percent in the U.S. or the U.K, according to most estimates. The cost is hard to measure, but it's not insignificant, IT support workers say.
Personal stories of the impact of viruses on the continent drive the point home. Mercer tells of an agriculture bureau employee who lost the multi-year plan for agricultural improvements for Ethiopia's fourth poorest area.
An IT consultant in Cameroon says that one client was operating with more than 200 infected files, drastically slowing down its PCs, corrupting confidential information and exposing it over the Internet, making public highly vulnerable information.
Even the Congress of South African Trade Unions found in May that its website was spreading viruses to visitors. "Viruses are pretty endemic," says a source.
The result: funding applications delayed, small businesses hurt, and hours wasted. And economies desperate for any boost they can get still lagging.
"Viruses are our enemy," laments one computer repair consultant.
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