Top ten viruses and hoaxes reported to Sophos in September 2003

October 01, 2003 Sophos Press Release

Gibe-F reaches top spot by playing on security fears

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

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

Position Last
Malware Percentage of reports

"With recent high profile virus outbreaks, people have become more security conscious. But Gibe-F, which shot to pole position this month, has shown that computer users' fears can play right into the hands of crafty virus writers," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos Anti-Virus. "Gibe-F poses as an email from Microsoft support, offering security patches. Computer users should remember that Microsoft does not and would not send out emails of this nature."

"The fact that all four of last month's big hitters - Sobig-F, Blaster, Mimail and Nachi - are still in the top ten, despite extensive media coverage, is also worrying. It means some people are still either ignoring calls to patch or are still oblivious to the threat," continued Cluley.

Sophos analysed and protected against 715 new viruses in September. The total number it now protects against is 84,992.

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

"Perhaps unsurprisingly, this month saw a move up the chart for the September 11 themed 'WTC Survivor' hoax. Whilst last month it only accounted for 7.9% of hoax enquiries, in September it generated almost 15% of reports," said Cluley. "Hoaxes which relate to a specific occasion often experience a rise in popularity around the time of the event. Hopefully, two years on, people will now realise this is a hoax."

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
1Hotmail hoax

2WTC Survivor


4Meninas da Playboy

5Bonsai kitten

6Budweiser frogs screensaver

7A virtual card for you

8Frog in a blender/Fish in a bowl

9Bill Gates fortune

10The missing dollar