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04 May 2005

Sober-N worm seen in over 40 countries, shows no sign of disappearing says Sophos

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus and spam analysis centres, have warned users that the W32/Sober-N worm has now been reported attempting to break into computer systems in over 40 different countries, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Since the worm first emerged on Monday it has dominated the chart of most commonly encountered viruses. At the time of writing it is accounting for 79.29% of all viruses seen by Sophos's monitoring stations around the world. Sophos experts calculate that the worm is now accounting for an astonishing 4.5% of all email (legitimate or otherwise) sent across the internet.

"1 in every 22 emails sent across the internet is currently infected by the Sober-N worm - making this one of the biggest virus outbreaks of the year," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "All internet users must secure their systems with up-to-date anti-virus software and ensure that they never open unsolicited email attachments. No-one should be fooled into thinking that email viruses are a thing of the past."

Sophos reports that the worm fooled users into opening its dangerous email attachment by using a variety of tricks - including using a number of different subject lines and message texts, and sending itself in either German or English language depending on what it suspected was the natural language of the recipient.

"In particular, this worm appears to have caused problems by posing as an offer of free tickets for the soccer World Cup tournament in Germany next year," continued Cluley. "Many people found the prospect of free tickets to the prestigious sporting event just too hard to resist."

A typical email sent by the Sober-N worm
A typical email sent by the Sober-N worm.

Sophos recommends companies protect their email with a consolidated solution to thwart the virus and spam threats and secure their desktops and servers with automatically updated anti-virus protection.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.