Sophos, a world leader in protecting businesses against viruses,
spyware and spam, has revealed the top ten viruses and hoaxes
causing problems for businesses around the world during the month
of August 2005.
The report, compiled from Sophos's global network of monitoring
stations reveals that Netsky-P, the worm written by the convicted
German teenager, Sven Jaschan, has yet again retained its position
at the top of the charts this month. The recent Zotob worms are
notable by their absence in the chart despite having received a
great deal of press attention for successfully infecting several
high profile media organisations.
The top ten viruses in August were as follows:
The prevalence of the Netsky-P worm rose slightly in August,
from 13.9% to 14.7%, but variants of the Mytob worm remain the
dominant threat to computer users, accounting for 54% of all
viruses reported to Sophos in August. In addition, research now
suggests that the Zotob group of viruses is also directly linked to
"Mytob and Zotob may spread in different ways, but the source
code is very similar," said Carole Theriault, security
consultant at Sophos. "Moreover, the Zotob author's nickname,
Diabl0, appears in more than twenty of the Mytob variants,
suggesting that they may have been created by the same person. One
thing is for sure - Mytob is still causing chaos in organisations
that haven't updated their virus protection and patched software
The threats listed in the August virus chart have had a much
smaller impact and claimed fewer victims than the previous months.
Sophos's research shows that 1.99%, or one in 50 emails,
circulating during the month of August were viral - a significant
drop when compared to the May results of one in 38 emails.
"Rather than being a sign that virus writers are giving up
trying to infect computers, the reason for this decrease is most
likely due to August being a favourite holiday time for many
people," explained Theriault. "While people are enjoying a cocktail
of sun, sea and sand, a large number of computers are switched off
and therefore immune to infection".
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
Sophos identified and protected against 1,626 new viruses in
August. The total number of viruses Sophos now protects against is
The top ten hoaxes reported to Sophos during August 2005 were as
"Though the Hotmail hoax is now in its 14th month at the top of
the chart, it has fallen in volume by 20% from July - though this
may be explained by the reduction in user activity," added
Theriault. "With London still recovering from last month's
bombings, it is not surprising that the ICE virus hoax, which
exploits a genuine 'In Case of Emergency' campaign, has risen
several places in the chart."
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.