Italy reports computer virus epidemic

Italians, renowned for their creative flair, have been turning their talents to the creation of computer viruses.

Last year was a healthy one for viruses in Italy, with 1796 cases recorded, a 35% increase from 1994, according to Istinform, a consultancy that monitors the spread of viruses in Italy. Italy was the top country for virus production in the European Union in 1995, the company says.

In a report published this month, Istinform listed these findings:

Seventy-six types of virus are circulating in Italy.

More than 4300 computers were infected in the course of 1995.

The outbreak cost 1244 working days on the part of computer health professionals and in terms of lost output.

Italys banks were the best protected against viruses, with 7% of virus attacks detected in advance and some 23,000 suspect disks identified. Industry, service companies and public administration, on the other hand, were particularly vulnerable to infection, says Istinform deputy director general Fulvio Berghella.

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