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 March 2005.
The report, compiled from Sophos's global network of monitoring
stations, shows that Zafi-D, which first appeared at the end of
2004, is the most commonly encountered virus for the fourth
consecutive month, accounting for 45.1% of all reports. The whole
chart is dominated by old viruses, with only one of the top ten,
Sober-K, having first appeared in 2005.
The top ten viruses in March 2005 were as follows:
"March's virus chart is dominated by old timers such as Zafi-D
and several versions of the Netsky worms - indeed, only one of the
top ten first appeared in 2005. Poorly protected computers are the
only reason these old viruses continue to wreak havoc," said
security consultant at Sophos. "Some of these established threats
are so widespread, they are preventing more recent viruses from
breaking into the top ten. But users shouldn't be fooled into a
false sense of security - with more than a thousand brand new
threats detected in March alone, new viruses are being created
every day. User education, up-to-date virus protection, and a
cautious approach to opening unknown attachments is the best way to
render viruses powerless."
Sophos analysed and protected against 1,225 new viruses in
March. The total number of viruses Sophos now protects against is
102,123. Sophos research shows that 2.62%, or one in 38 emails,
circulating during the month of March were viral. This figure is
significantly lower than last month when 1 in 28 emails were
In order to minimise exposure to viruses, Sophos recommends that
companies deploy a policy at their email gateway which blocks
unwanted executable attachments from being sent into their
organisation from the outside world. Companies should also run
up-to-date anti-virus software, firewalls and install the latest
The top ten hoaxes reported to Sophos during March 2005 are as
"The Hotmail hoax continues to be the most prevalent bogus
email, accounting for almost half of March's hoax reports.
Meanwhile, reports of the tsunami-related chain letters have fallen
drastically," continued Theriault. "Users who forward these chain
emails to their colleagues, friends and families are needlessly
clogging up email servers and inboxes. Employers can put a halt to
this by introducing best practice email policies which ensure users
delete rather than forward all unsolicited messages."
Sophos has made available a free, constantly updated information feed for intranets and
websites which means users can always find out about the latest
viruses and hoaxes.
Graphics of the above top ten virus chart are available here.
More information about safe
computing, including anti-hoax policies.