Sasser tops virus "chart"

To no great surprise, Sasser dominated the virus “charts” last month, with security firm Sophos claiming it made up more than half of all reports it received in May.

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By  Peter Branton Published  June 2, 2004

To no great surprise, Sasser dominated the virus “charts” last month, with security firm Sophos claiming it made up more than half of all reports it received in May. Sasser (which is more properly a worm rather than a virus, although the terms are often used interchangeably) accounted for 51.1% of reports Sophos said, with the remainder of the chart being dominated by Netsky variants, taking the next six positions. “Sasser was the major pain in the neck this month, affecting far more users than even the prevalent Netsky worms,” said Carole Theriault, security consultant for Sophos. “Requiring no user intervention and taking advantage of a relatively new Microsoft hole, it sneaked onto unprotected PCs, swamping internet connections. The best way to block such stealth worms is to deploy a consolidated defence, including multi-level anti-virus protection, firewalls and policies to update operating systems and educate staff.” While Sasser was the most widespread threat, Sophos said that it analysed and protected against 959 new viruses in May, the highest level in a single month since December 2001. “The Sasser worm may have captured the headlines, but many more viruses have been written this month,” said Theriault. This was despite the high profile arrest of German teenager Sven Jaschan, who has confessed to writing Sasser and Netsky, Theriault pointed out. Jaschan’s arrest was triggered by Microsoft’s much-publicised “bounty” for hackers, which was intended to deter virus-writers. However, the arrest “has done nothing to curb the problem” Theriault noted.

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