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Netsky-P and Zafi-B Worms Slug it Out for Top Threat

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The Netsky-P and Zafi-B worms are running neck and neck for the top spotin June's list of Worst Malware Threats.

While Sophos, Inc., a Lynnfield, Ma.-based anti-virus and anti-spamcompany, ranks Zafi-B as the most prolific threat last month, CentralCommand, Inc., a Medina, Ohio-based anti-virus company, puts Netsky-P atthe top of their June list.

According to Sophos, Zafi-B accounted for 30.4 percent of all malwaretraveling the Internet last month, and Netsky-P came in with 9.9percent. But Central Command, showed pretty much opposite results withNetsky-P accounting for 32.7 percent of malware and Zafi-B making up 8.8percent.

''Statistics are collected differently, but these are two bad worms thatwe've been dealing with,'' says Carol Theriault, a security consultantwith Sophos. ''The Netsky family, in particular, has caused a lot oftrouble for us this year. There are more than 30 variants. The guyclaiming ownership of them has been arrested in Germany so hopefully wewon't see any more of these. But they've been around since January andwe're still seeing them in our top 10.''

Theriault says Zafi-B has caused a large number of infections in EasternEurope. The text message in the Zafi-B email is written in Hungarian andis rather old-school in that it carries a political message (new wormsare more focused on financial gain than in railing against Microsoft orthe government).

And many users in the United States were infected with Zafi-B becausetheir anti-virus software couldn't read the Hungarian text so the virusslipped through the protective layer.

What Central Command and Sophos do agree on is that June was a quietermonth than the several months that preceded it.

''Unlike earlier this year, June was relatively tranquil,'' says SteveSundermeier, a vice president at Central Command.

Theriault says Sophos had added 900 new virus identities to itsanti-virus software in May, but that number dropped to 670 this pastmonth. ''Normally, we see between 600 and 800 a month,'' she adds.''June was more average again.''

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