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 May 2005.
The report, compiled from Sophos's global network of monitoring
stations, reveals that the new Sober-N worm has toppled Zafi-D,
which dominated the top of the virus chart for the previous five
months. The bilingual Sober-N virus, which poses as tickets for the
2006 World Cup in Germany, was detected at the beginning of the
month and rapidly spread across 40 countries - accounting for 4.5%
of all email at its peak.
The top ten viruses in May 2005 were as follows:
"Sober-N stormed to the top of the chart in early May, making it
one of the biggest outbreaks so far this year," said Carole Theriault ,
security consultant at Sophos. "This manipulative email worm spread
quickly, using social engineering tricks, such as offering free
World Cup tickets, to entice recipients into opening the infected
attachment. The Sober-Q Trojan, released a few weeks later,
searched for computers infected with Sober-N and attempted to
secretly turn them into spamming machines. The spam subject lines
included 'Dresden Bombing Is To Be Regretted Enormously', 'Armenian
Genocide Plagues Ankara 90 Years On', 'Dresden 1945' and 'Turkish
Tabloid Enrages Germany with Nazi Comparisons'."
"This month also sees another new entry - Mytob-AZ," continued
Theriault. "This is another mass-mailing worm accompanied by a
backdoor Trojan, allowing others to access the infected user's
computer. Despite only accounting for 1.6% of viruses in May, it is
a concern due to the severe damage it causes to businesses."
Sophos identified and protected against 1,515 new viruses in
May. The total number of viruses Sophos now protects against is
104,784. Its research showsthat 2.62%, or one in 38 emails,
circulating during the month of May were viral - a small increase
on the previous month.
In order to minimise exposure to viruses, Sophos recommends that
companies deploy a policy at their email gateway which blocks
unwanted executable attachments from being sent into their
organisation from the outside world. Companies should also run
up-to-date anti-virus software, firewalls and install the latest
The top ten hoaxes reported to Sophos during May 2005 were as
"There has been little movement to the hoaxes chart this month,
with the usual suspects standing their ground and proving
relentless," said Theriault. "As ever, the best advice for computer
users receiving this sort of hoax email is to ignore and delete
them. Effective anti-spam defence will also reduce the impact of
hoaxes and chain letters."
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.