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Barrage of Viruses Hits in October

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A record number of viruses hit the Internet in October but, but none ofthem were wide-spread and dangerous.

''We saw more new viruses being written last month than in any monthsince our records began in the late 1980s,'' says Graham Cluley, atechnology consultant for Sophos Inc., an anti-virus and anti-spamcompany with U.S. headquarters in Lynnfield, Mass. ''But even thoughthese things are being written, it doesn't necessarily mean the problemsare worsening. Most viruses don't successfully spread in the wild andcause a massive epidemic. They weren't worse, just more than everbefore.''

Sophos reports 1,685 new viruses and variants came out in October.

And Central Command, an anti-virus and anti-spam company based in Medina,Ohio, also reports big numbers for October.

Central Command analysts updated 60 percent more virus signatures inOctober than they did in September, which did happen to be a relativelyslow month, according to Steve Sundermeier, a vice president with CentralCommand. This past October also saw 35 percent more virus signatures thanthe same month in 2004.

''While we were busy in terms of the different variants, nothing reallycrazy and big came out,'' says Sundermeier. ''The number one [malware] onour list for October was Netsky-Q, which has been around since March of2004.'' Central Command had name this variant Netsky-P, but recently haschanged the name to Netsky-Q to better match up with other anti-virusvendors.

Cluley says the fact that Netsky-Q remains atop various threat lists,clearly shows that a major malware has not hit the streets recently.

''Normally, we'd expect that to be toppled off the top by another newworm,'' Cluley told eSecurityPlanet. ''But virus writers know whenthey write a big viruses, it draws attention to them, so they're writingmore Trojan Horses instead. Trojans don't spread on their own... Thismakes it less likely to make headlines and less likely that theanti-virus vendors will focus on it.''

The Mytob-GH virus, which came out in the middle of October, is makingthe rounds and garnering some attention, Cluley points out. ''We thinkthat will make a significant impact on the November figures,'' he adds.''But it's no epidemic.''

For October, here is Central Command's list of the most prevalentthreats:

  • Netsky.Q made up 13.64 percent of all malware circulating;
  • Mytob-IU -- 9.52 percent;
  • Mytob-MQ -- 8.25 percent;
  • IFrame-B -- 7.74 percent;
  • Mytob.MY -- 5.66 percent.

    At Sophos, they listed:

  • Netsky-P (also known as Netsky-Q) -- 17.2 percent;
  • Mytob-GH -- 8.1 percent;
  • Mytob-EX -- 5.7 percent;
  • Mytob-AS -- 5.4 percent;
  • Mytob-BE -- 5.3 percent.

    Sophos analysts report that nearly two-thirds of the viruses reportedduring the month were versions of the Mytob worm. They added in theirwritten report that this month's chart consists of only three virusfamilies -- Netsky, Mytob and Zafi. They say this indicates that viruswriters are continuing to create variants of established threats, whichprove most effective for financial gain.

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