Sophos, a world leader in IT security, has revealed the most
prevalent malware threats and email hoaxes causing problems for
computer users around the world during December 2006.
The figures, compiled from Sophos's global network of monitoring
stations, show that the long-established Dref malware has made an
unexpected return to the top of the threat chart, thanks to two new
variants currently causing problems for computer users
mass-mailing worm, which poses as a New Year
e-card, was discovered on December 30, 2006, and by the
following day accounted for 93.7% of infected emails. As a result,
Dref - which was first seen in July 2005 - has knocked last month's
main offender Stratio (also known as Stration) off the top of the
chart. Stratio, currently in fourth place, now accounts for just
7.8% of the total.
The top ten list of malware threats in December 2006 reads as
"Dref has been spammed out far and wide in the last few days,
and there's a danger that in the rush to get through the backlog of
holiday emails, people might return to work and accidentally launch
the malicious attachment," said Carole Theriault, senior
security consultant at Sophos. "Its social engineering tactics are
not new, so most businesses should have adequate defenses in place
to tackle the worm. Having spread for only two days during the
entire month, it is astonishing that Dref has secured the top
position for most widespread piece of malicious code."
The proportion of infected email continues to remain low, at
just one in 337 (0.30%), while during December Sophos identified
6,251 new threats, bringing the total number of malware protected
against to 207,684.
The top ten hoaxes and chain letters in December 2006 were as
Graphics of the above top ten malware chart are available.