Office Workers Seek Web Inoculation

It’s been tough to be a Web site lately, with the rash of viruses proliferating through cyberspace. For more than a month, viruses such as “Code Red” and “Sircam” have reeked havoc on various sites. (A serious case of “Red” hit hard just last week, reportedly infecting at least 22,000 sites worldwide, while a more virulent strain known as “Code Red II” has just started appearing on the scene).

But the health and well-being of at least two Web sites has been exceedingly good, thanks in part to the computer viruses. According to Nielsen NetRatings, at-work traffic to McAfee.com and Symantec.com, both computer security and anti-virus sites, spiked 37 percent and more than 56 percent, respectively, for the week ending July 29, as users sought out virus protection information.

In fact, according to the Milpitas, Calif.-based Net research firm, at-work traffic to computer security sites rose steadily for the entire month of July. Symantec.com witnessed a 122 percent traffic rise for the past four weeks, and McAfee experienced a 125 percent increase. Betty Chen, an analyst for NetRatings, said in the report, “These sites offer security updates and software that are easy to download and assure surfers that they can combat against the latest attacks proliferating the Internet.”

In total, more than 1.2 million at-work unique visitors went to Symantec.com during the week ending July 29, and 1.1 million went to McAfee.com during the same period. NetRatings reported that traffic to Microsoft.com will most likely rise as users log onto the site to access its Windows NT and 2000 virus patch to fend off the recent “Red” attack.