Sophos highlights old worms and new hoaxes

Security software vendor Sophos has published a report revealing the top ten viruses and hoaxes causing problems for businesses around the world during the month of January 2005.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  February 16, 2005

Security software vendor Sophos has published a report revealing the top ten viruses and hoaxes causing problems for businesses around the world during the month of January 2005. The report, compiled from Sophos's global network of monitoring stations, shows that Zafi-D, which appeared at the end of 2004, maintains its position at the top of the chart for a second consecutive month. “It is disappointing to note that January's top-ten entries have all been stoppable for at least six weeks,” says Mohammad Noraiee, managing director for Al Adeeb IT, master distributor for Sophos in the Middle East. “And, while most of the entries are more than six months old they are still polluting the email streams of thousands of internet users,” he adds. Zafi-D appears as a Christmas greeting and sought to trick people as they returned to work following the holidays. The second most commonly encountered virus in January - Netsky-P - is still causing considerable nuisance. Protection against this worm has been available since March 2004. “Unfortunately there will always be computers connected to the internet which are poorly defended, enabling the worm to continue to spread,” continues Noraiee. Sophos research showed that an alarming 4.3%, or one in 23 emails, circulating during the month of January were viral. A number of new hoaxes have also appeared, many taking advantage of the recent Tsunami tragedy. "Two new entries to the hoax chart this month come in the form of e-mails which relate to the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster,” says Noraiee. “The 'unidentified tsunami boy' chain letter was a genuine cry for help as well-intentioned internet users forwarded the picture of a boy caught up in the disaster. The 'letter from tsunami victim' is a malicious scam similar to the well-known Nigerian letter scams designed to extort money from e-mail users. The best advice is to simply delete all unsolicited mail,” he adds.

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