Top 10 Viruses and Hoaxes Reported to Sophos in November 2004

Sophos, a world leader in protecting businesses against spam and viruses, has published a report revealing the top ten viruses and hoaxes causing problems for businesses around the world during the month of November.

The report, compiled from Sophos’s global network of monitoring stations, shows that two new major viruses – Sober-I and Bagle-AU – appeared during the month, though the prevalent Netsky-P and Zafi-B, which were first spotted in March 2004 and June 2004 respectively, continue to be major irritants.

The top ten viruses in November 2004 were as follows:

1. W32/Netsky-P 24.2%
2. W32/Sober-I 20.4% NEW ENTRY
3. W32/Zafi-B 17.9%
4. W32/Bagle-AU 11.0% NEW ENTRY
5. W32/Netsky-D 4.4%
6. W32/Netsky-Z 3.9%
7. W32/Bagle-AA 2.6%
8. W32/Netsky-B 2.4%
9. W32/MyDoom-O 2.2%
10. W32/Netsky-Q 2.1% RE-ENTRY

Others 8.9%

“Two new entrants made it into the chart last month – Sober-I and Bagle-AU. Sober-I’s impact was particularly significant; it reached number two in the chart, accounting for over 20% of reports, even though it was not discovered until 19 November,” said Carole Theriault, security consultant at Sophos. “Sober-I spreads by email and uses a variety of subject lines and message texts, many of which allude to important security or messaging information. This type of ruse often outwits users, who double-click on the attachment to learn about the problem. Instead of discovering more about the bogus issue, unprotected users are infecting their computers.”

“Despite the appearance of Sober-I on the scene, relative old timers Netsky-P and Zafi-B have continued spreading, even though protection against them was made available as soon as they were first detected. Users can thwart these established threats by simply keeping their anti-virus protection up-to-date,” continued Theriault.

Sophos analysed and protected against 1,379 new viruses in November. The total number of viruses Sophos now protects against is 97,535. Sophos research shows that over 5.6%, or one in 18 emails, circulating during the month of November were viral. This is an increase from last month’s figure, which was 4.6%.

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

1. Hotmail hoax 24.1% FIFTH MONTH AT NUMBER ONE
2. Meninas da Playboy 9.6%
3. A virtual card for you 8.8%
4. Jamie Bulger 4.7%
5. Applebees Gift Certificate 3.4%
6. Bonsai kitten 3.3%
7. Budweiser frogs screensaver 3.2%
8. Yahoo instant message 3.0% NEW ENTRY
9. WTC Survivor 2.8%
10. Bill Gates fortune 2.2%

Others 34.9%

“The Yahoo instant message hoax – a new entry this month – has been spreading both via email and instant messaging services. The hoax warns instant messaging users to be wary of another named instant messaging user who it claims is spreading a virus,” continued Theriault. “Hoaxes warning of dangerous viruses are common, but as ever, this one has no basis in truth. Subscribing to virus alerts from reputable firms is the most reliable way to keep up to date with the latest virus threats.”

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