Sophos: Top 10 Viruses and Hoaxes in September 2003

Gibe-F reaches top spot by playing on security fears

This is the latest in a series of monthly charts counting down the ten most frequently reported viruses and hoaxes as compiled by Sophos, a global leader in anti-virus and anti-spam protection for businesses.

For September 2003, the chart is as follows, with the most frequently occurring virus at number one:

1. W32/Gibe-F (Gibe variant) 23.5% New Entry
2. W32/Dumaru-A (Dumaru virus) 18.1%
3. W32/Mimail-A (Mimail worm) 15.0%
4. W32/Sobig-F (Sobig variant) 5.6%
5. W32/Nachi-A (Nachi worm) 5.5%
6. W32/Sobig-A (Sobig worm) 4.4%
7. W32/Bugbear-B (Bugbear variant) 2.9%
8= W32/Klez-H (Klez variant) 2.7% 20 months in chart
8= W32/Blaster-A (Blaster worm) 2.7%
10. W32/Parite-B (Parite variant) 1.3%

Others 18.3%

“With recent high profile virus outbreaks, people have become more security conscious. But Gibe-F, which shot to pole position this month, has shown that computer users’ fears can play right into the hands of crafty virus writers,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos Anti-Virus. “Gibe-F poses as an email from Microsoft support, offering security patches. Computer users should remember that Microsoft does not and would not send out emails of this nature.”

“The fact that all four of last month’s big hitters – Sobig-F, Blaster, Mimail and Nachi – are still in the top ten, despite extensive media coverage, is also worrying. It means some people are still either ignoring calls to patch or are still oblivious to the threat,” continued Cluley.

Sophos analysed and protected against 715 new viruses in September. The total number it now protects against is 84,992.

The top ten hoaxes reported to Sophos during September are as follows:

1. Hotmail Hoax 21.5%
2. WTC Survivor 14.9%
3. JDBGMGR 10.4%
4. Meninas da Playboy 8.0%
5. Bonsai Kitten 3.7%
6. Budweiser frogs screensaver 3.6%
7. A virtual card for you 3.3%
8. Frog in a blender/Fish in a bowl 3.0%
9. Bill Gates Fortune 2.9%
10. The missing dollar 2.2% New Entry

Others 26.5%

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, this month saw a move up the chart for the September 11 themed ‘WTC Survivor’ hoax. Whilst last month it only accounted for 7.9% of hoax enquiries, in September it generated almost 15% of reports,” said Cluley. “Hoaxes which relate to a specific occasion often experience a rise in popularity around the time of the event. Hopefully, two years on, people will now realise this is a hoax.”

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