Top ten viruses and hoaxes reported to Sophos in July 2003

Sophos Press Release

Sobig family dominates this month's chart

This is the latest in a series of monthly charts counting down the ten most frequently occurring viruses and hoaxes as compiled by Sophos, a global leader in anti-virus protection for businesses.

For July 2003, the chart is as follows, with the most frequently occurring virus at number one:

Position Last
Malware Percentage of reports

"Forget the Osbournes or the Addams Family - the Sobig family of computer worms, accounting for more than half of all virus reports, is most likely to strike fear into the hearts of IT administrators," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "The Sobig worms, and some of the other top ten viruses, don't just spread by email. They use a variety of means. This underlines the importance of keeping anti-virus protection up to date at all entry points to the company network."

Sophos detected 625 new viruses, worms and Trojan horses in July. The total number it now protects against is 83,499.

The top ten hoaxes reported to Sophos during July 2003 are as follows:

"An old chain letter promising that Bill Gates will share his personal fortune with anyone who forwards the email onto friends and family has stormed to the top of the chart in July," said Cluley. "Chain letters and hoaxes waste valuable email bandwidth and can scare people into panicking about non-existent virus threats."

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 virus top ten chart are available here.

More information about safe computing, including anti-hoax policies.

Position Hoax Percentage of reports
1Bill Gates fortune


3Hotmail hoax

4Meninas da Playboy

5Bonsai kitten

6Budweiser frogs screensaver

7Free flight

8Frog in a blender/Fish in a bowl

9A virtual card for you

10WTC Survivor


More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos’ complete security solutions as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Simple to deploy, manage, and use, Sophos’ award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions are backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers. Sophos is headquartered in Oxford, U.K., and is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol “SOPH.” More information is available at