Sophos, a world leader in protecting businesses against spam and
viruses, has published a report revealing the top ten viruses and
hoaxes causing problems for businesses around the world during the
month of December 2004.
The report, compiled from Sophos's global network of monitoring
stations, shows that a new worm called Zafi-D, which appeared in
mid-December, has knocked Netsky-P - 2004's most prevalent threat -
from the top position.
The top ten viruses in December 2004 were as follows:
"Zafi-D has stormed to the top of the chart, eclipsing dominant
old timers Netsky-P and Zafi-B. Even though it was only discovered
mid-month, Zafi-D caused major havoc during the festive season,
accounting for more than a third of all virus reports in December,"
Theriault, security consultant at Sophos. "Zafi-D purports to
be sending cheeky seasonal cheer - the body of the email contains
an embedded lewd graphic involving two 'smiley' faces to fool users
into thinking the infected attachment contains a joke. Such tricks
have duped large numbers of users into opening the attachment and
launching the malicious code."
"Only 24 hours after it was discovered, Zafi-D accounted for
over 72% of all virus reports, and one in ten emails were infected
by the worm. It is discouraging to see a virus gain so much track
in so little time. A lot of damage could be avoided if users simply
kept their anti-virus protection up-to-date," continued
Sophos analysed and protected against 964 new viruses in
December. The total number of viruses Sophos now protects against
is 98,499. Sophos research shows that over 5.6%, or one in 18
emails, circulating during the month of December were viral. This
figure is the same as last month's figure.
The top ten hoaxes reported to Sophos during December are as
"The Christmas-themed Elf Bowling hoax has re-entered the chart
this month, just in time for the holiday season. The hoax warns
computer users to be wary of emails containing a game called
Elfbowl.exe, which it claims to be a dangerous virus," continued
Theriault. "Although there have been viruses disguised as games,
this warning is totally fake. However, it is possible for the game
to be infected by a virus in the future and be redistributed via
email. In order to be kept up-to-date with the latest virus
threats, users should rely on information found on the websites of
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 above top ten virus chart are available here.
More information about safe
computing, including anti-hoax policies.