Top ten malware threats and hoaxes reported to Sophos in October 2006

October 31, 2006 Sophos Press Release

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 October 2006.

The report, compiled from Sophos's global network of monitoring stations, shows that while the well-known Netsky-P has proved once again to be the most prevalent piece of malware in circulation, variants of the Stratio worm (also known as Stration or Warezov) have entered the top ten for the first time. Several hundred variants of the worm were widely spammed out during the month, on some days accounting for more than 50% of all reported malware.

Sophos experts note that on the one-year anniversary of Get Safe Online - the UK's national campaign to raise awareness about the risks of leaving computers unprotected online - established virus families such as Netsky, Mytob and Zafi continue to cause havoc for internet users, despite protection having long been available.

The proportion of infected email continues to remain low, at just one in 300 (0.34%), while during October Sophos identified 3,076 new threats, bringing the total number of malware protected against to 193,821.

Position Last
month
Virus Percentage of reports
1 1 W32/Netsky-P
15.2%
2 2 W32/Mytob-AS
12.2%
3 New W32/Stratio-Zip
5.7%
4 3 W32/Bagle-Zip
5.3%
5 5 W32/Netsky-D
5.1%
6 New W32/Stratio-AY
4.3%
7 7 W32/Mytob-C
3.5%
8 8 W32/Zafi-B
3.4%
9 5 W32/Nyxem-D
3.1%
10 6 W32/Mytob-E
2.6%
Others 39.6%

"This is like a new dog employing old tricks - Stratio has made it into the top ten because it used numerous social engineering tactics and has been aggressively spammed out," said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant for Sophos. "Home users who haven't installed or updated their anti-malware protection remain the most vulnerable targets, and if old-timers like Netsky and Mytob are still getting through users' defenses, it's a sure bet that new malware is doing the same thing. Given these circumstances you have to ask, are awareness campaigns like Get Safe Online really having the intended impact? We're still awaiting firm evidence that they have actually connected with the general public."

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

Position Hoax Percentage of reports
1 Olympic torch
8.5%
2 Hotmail hoax
8.2%
3 WTC Survivor
7.9%
4 Bonsai kitten
4.5%
5 MSN is closing down
4.1%
6 Bill Gates fortune
3.2%
7 Meninas da Playboy
3.0%
8 Justice for Jamie
2.6%
9 A virtual card for you
2.5%
10 Budweiser frogs screensaver
2.0%
Others 53.5%

Graphics of the above top ten malware chart are available.