Sophos lists the biggest malware threats in August 2006

Sophos, a world leader in IT security, has revealed the most prevalent malware threats and hoaxes causing problems for computer users around the world during August 2006.

The report, compiled from Sophos’s global network of monitoring stations, reveals little movement, with last month’s four most prevalent pieces of malware retaining their positions. There are no new entries in August’s chart and only one re-entry, the Mytob-E worm which last appeared in the chart in May 2005. This month’s top two – Netsky-P and Mytob-AS – were also the most common in August 2005. Sophos maintains that a large number of computers connected to the internet are simply not protected against threats, which suggests that education on IT security is not making a global impact. Protection against Netsky-P has been available for more than two years, yet it remains the most widespread email worm.

Just one in 278 (0.4 percent) emails are now viral infected, a significant decrease to August 2005 when one in every 50 emails circulating were viral. However, Sophos identified 1,998 new threats in August, bringing the total number of malware protected against to 186,665. The majority of the new threats (71.8 percent) were Trojan horses, which, in most cases, are specifically targeted at particular groups of people and do not spread on their own.

The top ten list of malware in August 2006 reads as follows:

1. Netsky-P 19.9%
2. Mytob-AS 15.8%
3. Bagle-Zip 8.0%
4. Nyxem-D 6.4%
5. Netsky-D 4.4%
6. Mytob-C 4.1%
7. Mytob-E 3.2% re-entry
8. Mydoom-O 3.0%
9. Zafi-B 2.7%
10. Mytob-FO 1.5%

Others 31.0%

“It is certainly frustrating that such easily beaten threats are still plaguing our email highways – is it a simple case that people who are infected don’t know or don’t care?” explained Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. “While the UK media regularly reports on the dangers of cyber crime, informing the public how to defend their PCs, perhaps some users just don’t think it could happen to them. Wake up – it can. If you use the internet and don’t have proper security measures in place, you are not only endangering your data, you are keeping nasty old timers like Mytob and Netsky worms alive and kicking.”

The top ten hoaxes and chain letters in August 2006 were as follows:

1. Olympic torch 11.0%
2. Hotmail hoax 8.5%
3. Bonsai kitten 4.6%
4. Budweiser frogs screensaver 3.8%
5. Meninas da Playboy 3.4%
6. MSN is closing down 3.1%
=7. Bill Gates fortune 2.8%
=7. Justice for Jamie 2.8%
9. A virtual card for you 2.6%
10. Mobile phone hoax 1.7%

Others 55.7%

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