Device Security

How Are We Affected? Human Influenza vs Computer Viruses

April 1, 2020 

Over history, real-world viruses such as influenza, have had serious consequences. They can affect day-to-day living, businesses, even finances, and most seriously, our health. According to Healthline, the flu virus affected 5-20% of people in the US throughout 2017 and 2018, resulting in 31.4 million outpatient visits and 200,000 hospitalizations. The flu costs an estimated $10.4 billion a year in medical expenses, another $16.3 billion in lost earnings for individuals, and $21 billion in lost productivity for employers. 1

Computers can also get a virus which can be quite severe. Similar to the flu virus, a computer virus can spread from an infected host to others very quickly, and it can have negative effects like corruption of files and computer crashes. And like a real-world virus, computer viruses can cost millions of dollars or more in damage to consumers, businesses, and governments. 2

Below is a comparison of human viruses like the flu and computer viruses to illustrate just how similar they can be, how serious their implications are, and simple best practices to try to protect yourself against them.

Unfortunately, we see instances of these worlds colliding. Cybercriminals are currently exploiting people’s concerns about a real-world human virus via emails and ads in order to infect their computers with a virus.

Proper precautions can make the difference between a mild inconvenience and a much worse outcome. Just as washing hands and avoiding close contact with infected individuals can help protect your physical health against Influenza, using Norton 360 and practicing safe computing habits can help keep your devices safe.

If you’re already using our newest Norton 360 plans, make sure you’re maximizing the value of your subscription by installing protection on multiple devices, staying more private on public Wi-Fi with a VPN, backing up your most important documents with secure PC Cloud Backup, and getting alerted if we find your information for sale online with Dark Web Monitoring powered by LifeLock.

Don’t have one of our newest Norton 360 plans yet? Click here to upgrade.

1 Jen Thomas, “The Flu: Facts, Statistics, and You,” Healthline, Nov. 2018
2 What is the Real Cost of Computer Viruses? Infographic,, March 2018
3 Lindsey O’Donnell, New Facebook-Spread Malware Triggers Credential Theft, Cryptomining, Threat Post, May 2018
4 Take Three Actions to Fight Flu, CDC, Sept. 2019
5 James Steckelberg M.D, Cold and Fly viruses: How long can they live outside they body?, Mayo Clinic, Feb. 2020
6 Merriam-Webster, Virus Definition: History and Etymology for Virus, Updated March 2020
7 Arizona State University, Major class of viruses reveals complex origins, July 2019
8 Norton LifeLock UK, The 8 Most famous Computer Viruses of All Time, Feb. 2016
9 Kelly Bissel, The Cost of Cybercrime, Accenture, 2019
10 Norton LifeLock, ISTR, February 2019

Additional Sources:

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

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