Anti-virus round-up (January-June 2000)

July 26, 2000 Sophos Press Release

The most significant virus event in the first six months of 2000 was undoubtedly VBS/LoveLet (also known as The Love Bug).

The Love Bug became the fastest spreading virus of all time because of the psychological temptation it presented to innocent computer users. Disguised as a love letter from a friend or colleague many people opened the file simply out of curiousity, not realising the harm it would cause.

Other events in the first six months of 2000 included:

  • Legitimate concern about the Love Bug was subsequently exploited by anti-virus companies that hyped a series of viruses, which posed little threat to computer users.
  • A number of anti-virus companies, for example, drew attention to specific viruses that are set to trigger on particular dates, such as Smash on 14th July, rather than highlighting that viruses pose a problem every day of the year.
  • Some anti-virus companies continued this trend by releasing warnings about viruses that may infect WAP devices, mobile phones and refrigerators. Sophos advises that no such viruses currently exist and at present these devices lack the sophistication to be infected.
  • David L. Smith, author of Melissa, has still not been sentenced for causing over $80 million of damage to North American businesses. Melissa first appeared in March 1999, yet continues to feature in the latest Top Ten statistics.
  • A poll recently revealed that the majority of Filipino citizens were proud that the Love Bug originated in the Philippines. This comes at a time when virus writing is in danger of being glamorised by the media in general.

Sophos continues to recommend that companies keep their anti-virus software up-to-date and employ "safe computing" policies such as not opening unsolicited documents and executables. The rule of 'ignore email from strangers' is not enough. Viruses are often spread unintentionally via your friends and colleagues.

January - June 2000 top ten viruses

Position Malware Percentage of reports
1VBS/Kakworm
   18.1%
2VBS/LoveLet
   17.5%
3W32/Pretty
   10.5%
4WM97/Marker-O
   5.0%
5VBS/Stages-A
   3.7%
6W32/Ska-Happy99
   3.2%
7WM97/Marker-A
   3.1%
8WM97/Ethan
   3.0%
9Troj/Mine
   2.5%
10WM97/Melissa
   1.9%
Others31.5%