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Change of Guard in New List of Worst Viruses

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Two viruses that pose as security patches issued from Microsoft have outdone maliciouscompetitors like Klez, Bugbear and Blaster for the top two seats in October's top viruscharts.

Gibe-F and Dumaru-A took the leading two positions respectively, according to two separatevirus ratings for last month.

''With Sobig-F reports dropping off substantially, the month of October had a changing ofthe guard on top of the chart in favor of Gibe,'' says Steve Sundermeier, a vice presidentat Medina, Ohio-based Central Command, Inc., a security and anti-virus company. ''Much ofGibe's success can be directly attributed to its Microsoft-style email. Users need tounderstand that Microsoft does not send attachments over email.''

Chris Belthoff, a senior security analyst with Lynnfield, Mass.-based Sophos, Inc., says thetwo viruses pose a problem for corporate IT managers and for the software giant, as well.

''With more than 36 percent of reports, the top two viruses, Gibe-F and Dumaru-A -- both ofwhom pose as security patches from Microsoft support -- are threatening to tarnish computerusers' trust in Microsoft,'' says Chris Belthoff.

Sophos ranks the top five viruses for October as: Gibe-F, Dumaru-A, MiMail-A, Sobig-F andKlez-H. Central Command issued a similar ranking, listing its top five as: Gibe-C, Dumaru-A,Klez-E, MiMail-A and Sober. The Klez virus has made the infamous list for 21 months now.

The Sober worm, particularly active in Germany, was the only newcomer in Central Command'sranking.

Of note in Sophos' ranking is the inclusion of the CoreFloo-C trojan, which made it toOctober's eighth-highest spot. The trojan allows a remote intruder to access and control acomputer via the Internet Relay Chat. It's the first time in 2003 that a trojan has made itinto the top 10 in a field dominated by Windows 32 viruses, reports Sophos analysts.

Sophos also ranks the top email hoaxes of the month. For October, the Hotmail hoax grabbedthe top spot. After that, Meninas da Playboy came in second, followed by Bonsai Kitten;JDBGMGR; Budweiser Frogs Screensaver; WTC Survivor; Frog in a Blender; Bill Gates Fortune; AVirtual Card for You, and Welcome to the Matrix.

''A new entry into October's chart is the Welcome to the Matrix hoax,'' says Belthoff. ''Thehoax is in French and warns people not to open PowerPoint presentations, entitled Welcome tothe Matrix. Just as the most common viruses this month, this hoax threatens Microsoft'scredibility with some versions claiming to come from a Microsoft security team.''

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