Customer: My computer's been bugged! Please help me or else it'll die... I just got it a week back and it's been my darling since then... Save me!!
Steven (me): Don't worry ma'am, here's your friendly neighborhood pest-cleaner.
I remember that conversation, I had as Steve (my complex sounding name, 'Saptarshi' needed to be changed for U.S customers) when I was working as Technical Support Executive for Symantec some 2 years back. Those were the days, when I spent sleepless nights trying to save the world from viruses :))... If not the world, at least those from the Windows world using the crappy, but popular Norton Antivirus! I really have first-hand experience from scared, petrified, stupefied, customers screaming at the top of their voice, pleading me to save them!
Computer viruses have a FUD around them these days. But I'm pretty sure that when Richard Skrenta developed the very first virus in the wild called "Elk Cloner", he didn't expect viruses to turn to be so ugly as they are today. Each year viruses cause damages of data worth a few million dollars, but you also need to think the revenue that they have generated for antivirus companies. Nearly every computer shipped or assembled today (with Windows installed) has some kind of malware protection installed on it and everytime I think, if it weren't for these virus writers/creators how would we have companies like Symantec, Kaspersky, PC-Cillin... And imagine how many people are earning their livelihood from these companies. Think of the CPU and RAM resources that these antiviruses use (specially Norton/McAfee), and help in someway to improve hardware sales. Imagine how many people would be jobless, if it weren't for self-replicating bots, worms and trojans causing damages by making DDOS, spams and all the nasty things that viruses do.
So as much as the damage that viruses have caused, they have also helped a lot of people earn money. Let's not forget that every coin has two sides and so it is with viruses as well. Lets accept
viruses as Karma for Windows users... and for the rest, there's always an opportunity to use *nix or OSX!! Long live viruses!!