Sophos, a world leader in IT security, has revealed the most
prevalent malware threats and email hoaxes causing problems for
computer users around the world during January 2007.
The figures, compiled from Sophos's global network of monitoring
stations, show that the recently discovered Dorf malware has had a
massive impact on computer users worldwide, rampaging to the top of
the monthly malware threat chart and accounting for almost 50
percent of all malware seen during January.
The Dorf malware was aggressively
spammed out posing as breaking news of deaths caused by stormy
European weather during January. Later in the month the authors
changed tack and launched a further campaign disguising the malware
as a romantic email
greeting card. Elsewhere in the top ten, the Netsky, Mytob and
Stratio malware remain rooted in second, third and fourth place
respectively, between them accounting for one third of all malware
The top ten list of malware threats in January 2007 reads as
"Spammed out with hard-hitting headlines and the promise of
exclusive news content, the Dorf malware, or 'Storm Trojan', moved
at gale force speeds and battered inboxes worldwide in an attempt
to compromise users' PCs," said Carole Theriault, senior
security consultant at Sophos. "Though not a particularly
sophisticated form of attack, preying upon public interest by using
breaking news events is a tried and trusted trick. It has proven to
be a remarkably effective method of fooling recipients into
lowering their guard."
Sophos has so far seen more than 2500 variants of the Dorf
malware - almost a third of the new threats identified during
January 2007. The majority of these variants were intercepted by
Sophos's proactive Behavioral Genotype®
Protection technology even before they were formally identified
as belonging to the Dorf family of malware.
The proportion of infected email, while substantially higher
than in December 2006, is still small at just one in 238 (0.42%),
while during January Sophos identified 7,272 new threats, bringing
the total number of malware protected against to 214,956.
The top ten hoaxes and chain letters in January 2007 were as
Graphics of the above top ten malware chart are available.
The Sophos Security Threat Report 2007, which discusses 2006's
most prevalent families of malware and malware hosting countries in
more detail, can be downloaded from the Sophos website: