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The cost of cleaning up

Published: 2013-05-01
Last Updated: 2013-05-01 13:43:22 UTC
by Daniel Wesemann (Version: 1)
13 comment(s)

As Johannes mentions in yesterday's ISC StormCast, the city of Schwerin in Germany apparently decided to throw 170 PCs into the trash, because cleaning them from a Conficker worm infestation was estimated at around 130'000 Euros, whereas the replacement of the old PCs had already been budgeted for at 150'000 Euros. Our recent discussion aside on whether a modern malware infection can actually be "cleaned" or if wiping and reinstallation from scratch is always called for, "the cost of cleaning up" is actually  relevant in either case. Schwerin's 130kEuro estimate amounts to about 1000$ per PC. The report doesn't say if this calculation includes lost productivity of the employee who has to wait for his/her computer to be returned from scrubbing, or if this is just for the cleaning/reinstall itself.

Some Google searches gave me a going rate between 79$ and 299$ for a malware clean-up on a single home user PC, and several of the providers mention explicitly that they offer a "fresh install" for a lower price than the cleanup, which is one more indication that "re-install" seems to become the norm.

My search didn't result in any decent figures for virus cleanup costs in a mid-to-large corporate environment though. Companies of a certain size are likely set up to automatically provision and install new computers, so a replacement/re-stage should be a standard process for them, and relatively quick and cost effective. If you have any figures on the actual cost of cleanup/restage in a larger organization, or know any recent studies that have analyzed this in some depth, please let us know.

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