Top ten viruses and hoaxes reported to Sophos in March 2004

Sophos Press Release

Bagle and Netsky worms dominate chart as virus writers battle for virus supremacy

Sophos, a world leader in protecting businesses against spam and viruses, has revealed the top ten viruses and hoaxes causing problems for businesses around the world.

The report, which examines virus and hoax reports in the month of March 2004, shows eight new entries to the chart.

The top ten viruses in March 2004 were as follows:

Position Last
Malware Percentage of reports

"The authors of the Netsky and Bagle worms have been battling for virus writing supremacy in March, with both releasing new variants in a tit-for-tat game of one-upmanship," said Carole Theriault, security consultant, Sophos. "The Netsky author wins the dubious accolade of the month's biggest virus, accounting for almost 60% of all reports to Sophos, but the biggest losers are the innocent computer users who have been caught in the crossfire of the Netsky/Bagle spat."

"As the argument between the two virus writers escalated, a torrent of new worms was released," continued Theriault. "To minimise the impact of such virus activity, businesses should consider blocking all attachments containing programs at the email gateway and setting up their anti-virus protection to update automatically."

Sophos analysed and protected against 824 new viruses in March. The total number of viruses Sophos now protects against is 89,112.

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

"This month's new entry targets the nation's conscience by exploiting the tragic death of Jamie Bulger. Users are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of opening emails but distributing and forwarding chain letters only wastes time and bandwidth," continued Theriault.

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
3Meninas da Playboy
4A virtual card for you
5Bonsai kitten
6WTC Survivor
7Budweiser frogs screensaver
8Bill Gates fortune
9Elf Bowling
10Jamie Bulger

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