Top Ten Viruses And Hoaxes Reported To Sophos In May 2004

Sasser worm dominates virus reports; number of new viruses hits two and a half year high

Sophos, a world leader in protecting businesses against spam and viruses, has revealed the top ten viruses and hoaxes causing problems for businesses around the world.

The report, which examines virus and hoax reports in the month of May 2004, shows the Sasser worm dominating the chart, accounting for more than half the reports received by Sophos.

The top ten viruses in May 2004 were as follows:

1. W32/Sasser 51.1% NEW ENTRY
2. W32/Netsky-P 11.7%
3. W32/Netsky-B 4.1%
4. W32/Netsky-D 3.8%
5. W32/Netsky-Z 3.4%
6. W32/Netsky-Q 2.4%
7. W32/Netsky-C 2.1%
8. W32/Sober-G 1.5% NEW ENTRY
9. W32/Bagle-AA 0.8% NEW ENTRY
10. W32/Lovgate-V 0.7% NEW ENTRY

Others 18.4%

“Sasser was the major pain in the neck this month, affecting far more users than even the prevalent Netsky worms. Requiring no user intervention and taking advantage of a relatively new Microsoft hole, it sneaked onto unprotected PCs, swamping internet connections,” said Carole Theriault, security consultant, Sophos. “The best way to block such stealth worms is to deploy a consolidated defence, including multi-level anti-virus protection, firewalls and policies to update operating systems and educate staff.”

Sophos analysed and protected against 959 new viruses in May, this is the highest number of new viruses discovered in a single month since December 2001. The total number of viruses Sophos now protects against is 90,811.

“The Sasser and Netsky worms may have captured the headlines, but many more viruses have been written this month – 959 in total,” continued Theriault. “Indeed, May has seen a noticeable spike in cybercriminal activity, suggesting that even the arrest of Sven Jaschan, the German teenager who has owned up to writing Sasser and Netsky has done nothing to curb the problem.”

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

1. Hotmail hoax 13.5% TENTH MONTH AT NUMBER ONE
2. Meninas da Playboy 11.0%
3. Bill Gates fortune 6.6%
4. Bonsai kitten 6.2%
5. A virtual card for you 5.0%
6. Budweiser frogs screensaver 4.9%
7. JDBGMGR 4.0%
8. WTC Survivor 3.9%
9. Jamie Bulger 3.3%
10. Spunkball 2.2% NEW ENTRY

Others 39.4%

“A new entry to the hoax chart in May is the ‘Spunkball’ chain letter,” continued Theriault. “This message claims to warn of teenagers targeting stationary cars with fire bombs. As ever, the best advice for computer users receiving this sort of hoax email is to simply press delete. Deploying an effective anti-spam defence can also reduce the impact of hoaxes and chain letters.”

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