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 October 2005.
The report, compiled from Sophos's global network of monitoring
stations, reveals that October has seen the biggest increase in
virus numbers since its records began - it now identifies and
protects against a total of 112,142 viruses, which is an increase
of 1,685 on last month. Netsky-P, the worm written by convicted German teenager
Sven Jaschan, continues to head up the top ten twenty months after
it was first detected. However, Mytob-GH, which first appeared on
16 October 2005, is already in second place and showing no sign of
abating. This Mytob variant is well placed to topple Netsky-P from
the top of the chart in November.
The top ten viruses in October were as follows:
September's lull in new viruses was short lived, with October's
count totalling a record high of 1,685. Sophos experts have
revealed that nearly two thirds of the viruses reported to Sophos
during the month were versions of the Mytob worm, with the new
Mytob-GH and Mytob-EX variants having made a significant
"The unfortunate onslaught of new threats this month is
unsurprising as malware authors ramp up their game in their pursuit
of hard cash," said Carole Theriault, senior
security consultant at Sophos. "The Mytob dynasty continues to grow
- attacking networks thick and fast. Users should ensure that their
anti-virus protection is regularly updated since this barrage of
threats shows no sign of slowing down."
While Netsky-P no longer poses quite such a potent threat to
proactive users, it is still at the top of the October chart for
the fourth consecutive month, dropping slightly from 18.6% to
17.13% of viruses reported to Sophos.
This month's chart consists of only three virus families -
Netsky, Mytob and Zafi, indicating that virus writers are
continuing to create variants of established threats, which prove
most effective for financial gain.
"There are six variants of the Mytob worm in the October chart,
half of which are new entries," continued Theriault. "The creators
of Mytob appear to be a gang of virus writers called Hellbot. By
having several gang members they can easily issue several different
variants in a short space of time."
With this rise in viruses, Sophos's research shows that 1.66%,
or one in 60 emails, circulating in October were viral.
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 October 2005 were
"The hoax chart has remained fairly static this month, although
the HIV Needles hoax has leapt up to number three," said Theriault.
"These sick individuals obviously get a kick out of terrifying the
general public, and the speed with which this hoax has circulated
highlights this genuine fear factor. The Sainsbury's Gift Vouchers
hoax, although not as malicious as the HIV hoax, is still a cruel
trick that plays on the hopes of shoppers."
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 also available.
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.