Top 10 Viruses And Hoaxes Reported To Sophos In February 2005

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 February 2005.

The report, compiled from Sophos’s global network of monitoring stations, shows that Zafi-D, which first appeared at the end of 2004, maintains its position at the top of the chart for a third consecutive month. February’s top ten is dominated by old viruses, with only two new entries charting this month: Bagle-BK and Sober-K.

The top ten viruses in February 2005 were as follows:

2. W32/Netsky-P 22.3%
3. W32/Zafi-B 9.7%
4. W32/Bagle-BK 5.2% NEW ENTRY
5. W32/Netsky-D 4.2%
6. W32/Netsky-Z 3.8%
7. W32/Sober-K 3.4% NEW ENTRY
8. W32/Sobig-F 2.5% RE-ENTRY
9. W32/Netsky-B 2.4%
10. W32/MyDoom-O 1.5%

Others 14.2%

“It looks like the Zafi-D worm is going to be hanging around like a bored teenager for some time to come, unless more home users realise how important it is to update their anti-virus software. This Hungarian worm accounts for almost one in three viruses reported,” said Carole Theriault, security consultant at Sophos. “Despite only appearing at the end of February, the Sober-K worm has already made an impression on the chart and will be one to watch in March. It can pose in a number of disguises, including a bogus email from the FBI or raunchy videos of celebrity heiress Paris Hilton.”

“Bagle-BK is the latest incarnation of the Bagle family of worms to make an impact, fooling many people to open its unsolicited email attachment. User education, good anti-virus software, and a sensible email policy can make worms like this an irrelevance,” continued Theriault. “In February, SophosLabs analysed its 100,000th piece of malware, which was yet another variant of the prolific Rbot worm.”

Sophos analysed and protected against 1,295 new viruses in February. The total number of viruses Sophos now protects against is 100,898. Sophos research shows that over 3.54%, or one in 28 emails, circulating during the month of February were viral. This figure is a little lower than last month when 1 in 23 emails were viral.

Sophos continues to recommend that companies deploy a policy at their email gateway which blocks unwanted executable attachments from being sent into their organisation from the outside world, as well as running up-to-date anti-virus software, firewalls, and installing the latest security patches.

The top ten hoaxes reported to Sophos during February 2005 are as follows:

1. Hotmail hoax 36.8% EIGHTH MONTH AT NUMBER ONE
2. Bonsai kitten 10.6%
3 Meninas da Playboy 7.3%
4. A virtual card for you 7.2%
5=. Letter from tsunami victim 2.8%
5=. Unidentified tsunami boy 2.8%
7. Budweiser frogs screensaver 2.5%
8. Applebees Gift Certificate 2.3%
9. Yahoo instant message 2.2%
10. Jamie Bulger 1.5% RE-ENTRY

Others 24.0%

“The Hotmail hoax continues to be the most prevalent, increasing this month to almost 37% of all reported hoaxes, while the tsunami-related hoaxes have increased slightly this month, accounting for almost six percent of hoaxes,” continued Theriault. “A re-entry to the top ten, Jamie Bulger, demonstrates the continual fascination people have with notorious criminal cases, no matter how old. The best advice for hoaxes is as old as the day is long: do not forward or respond to unsolicited emails. Instead, simply delete them.”

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