The month of August has become the worst month on record for digital attacks, largely on the back of the Sobig malware attack. Sobig is now the most costly digital attack, leaping over the Klez and Love Bug viruses, and linked to almost US$30 billion in worldwide economic damage. This damage includes lost productivity, clean-up and upgrade costs. “Even within those households, corporations, organisations and government departments which are completely free from Sobig, valuable working time is still being lost due to a continuous flood of returned mail messages and notifications from infected computers and virus scanners as Sobig continues to leave its legacy on email systems through backlogs on servers and proxies,” says DK Matai, executive chairman of digital security firm mi2g. The company speculates that Sobig may be the result of a seasoned programmer working in the “contact database theft” or spam world, perhaps as a test. . “With valid and up-to-date email addresses becoming a valuable commodity, virus writers are likely to be prolific in seeking to obtain large numbers of email addresses and contact information through their malware just as hackers are already leveraging their skills in stealing credit card numbers and personal profiles,” says Matai. August also saw the MSBlast malware attack, with the entire month producing US$32.8 billion in economic damage, and this, combined with digital hack attacks related to unrest in the Mid-East earlier in the year, have caused digital damage in 2003 to double that of 2002. “The whole issue of trustworthy computing is now at stake,” Matai says.