Sophos, a world leader in protecting businesses against viruses,
spyware and spam, has revealed the most prevalent malware threats
and hoaxes causing problems for computer users around the world
during July 2006.
The information, compiled from Sophos's global network of
monitoring stations, reveals that while the Netsky-P worm, first
seen in March 2004, remains the most widespread piece of malware
travelling via email, the actual proportion of infected email has
dropped to a low of just one in 222 (0.45 percent). This compares
to the first six months of 2006 when, on average, one in 91 emails
(1.1 percent) carried malicious attachments.
Sophos identified 3,715 new threats in July, bringing the total
of malware protected against to 184,007. The majority of the new
threats (87 percent) were Trojan horses, while just 13 percent were
worms or viruses.
The top ten list of malware in July 2006 reads as follows:
The dramatic reduction in viral email traffic indicates that
malware authors are looking for other methods of infection. Hackers
are turning away from mass-mailing viruses and worms in favour of
more insidious Trojan horse targeted attacks aimed at smaller
groups of users, spamming out links to malicious websites, and
attempting to steal money and identities.
"At a glance, the drop in the proportion of virus infected email
may be misread as a sign that email is now a safer medium, but
computer users and businesses shouldn't be fooled," explained
senior security consultant at Sophos. "The reality is that the
number of new threats is increasing by thousands each month. While
there may be less viruses and worms in the actual email, hackers
are spamming out messages that link to malicious websites where
Trojan horses lie and wait for innocent victims. If businesses
don't defend themselves they put their data, money and productivity
levels at risk."
The top ten hoaxes and chain letters in July 2006 were as
Graphics of the top
ten virus chart are also available.
Sophos's research into malware in July 2006 backs up trends it
published in a report released a month ago, examining cyber crime
in the first six months of 2006: