News

Virus attacks up 17.5%

Karl Cushing
Last month's Bugbear-B worm was the most pernicious virus in the first half of 2003. Security firm Sophos received reports about 3,855 new viruses, a 17.5% increase compared to the same period last year, the firm said.

Bugbear-B, which morphs its contents and can turn off some firewalls and anti-virus software, accounted for 12% of the reports the company received.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said all 10 viruses were executable Windows 32 viruses spread via e-mail. "Companies can protect themselves by blocking executable code at the e-mail gateway. These viruses should not have had anything like the impact they did," he said.

Eight of the viruses can spread using more than one method such as e-mail, internet relay chat and network sharing - a trend Sophos expects to continue.

The remaining four places in the top five were taken by Klez-H, and variants of the Sobig virus, including Sobig-C, which posed as a support e-mail from Microsoft's Bill Gates. The impact of Sobig makes it the biggest virus threat encountered this year so far.

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