Sober-I Hits Hard, Nears Nov. Title Spot

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The Netsky-P worm finally has some competition when it comes to the worst bugs plaguing the Internet.

Sober.I, a mass-mailing variant of the Sober family of worms, placed high on several lists of the top viruses for November. Even though the bug wasn't even discovered in the Wild until Nov. 19, it still had plenty of time to make it's mark.

''Arguably the only major virus outbreak of the fall season, Sober-I had an immediate impact,'' says Steve Sundermeier, vice president of products and services at Central Command, an anti-virus and anti-spam company based in Medina, Ohio. ''Even though Sober-I was first discovered on the nineteenth, it had already closed in on Netsky.P, coming in second.''

One in 18 emails circulating in the month of November contained a virus, according to a report from Sophos, Inc., an anti-virus and anti-spam company based in Lynnfield, Mass.

Some of the anti-virus vendors release rankings of the worst viruses for the past month. Rarely do they agree completely, but they offer a view of what viruses, worms and Trojans are circling the Internet and causing the most trouble.

Central Command's list consists of Netsky-P, which accounts for 26.3 percent of all malware in the Wild; Sober-I at 17.5 percent; Bagle-AT at 11.6 percent, Bagle-AP at 9.1 percent and Zafi-B at 6.9 percent.

Sophos lists their top viruses as: Netsky-P with 24.2 percent; Sober-I with 20.4 percent; Zafi-B at 17.9 percent; Bagle-AU with 11 percent and Netsky-D with 4.4 percent.

MessageLabs, Inc., a managed email security company based in New York, lists their top malware as: MyDoom-A, Dumaru-A, Swen-A, Sobig-F and Mimail-J.

''Sober-I and Bagle-AU proved to be a nuisance to many businesses and consumers,'' says Gregg Mastoras, senior security analyst at Sophos. ''Sober-I spreads via email and uses a variety of subject lines and message texts, many of which allude to important security or messaging information.

''Netsky-P and Zafi-B also claim top spots even though protection against them was made available as soon as they were first detected. If users took precautionary measures, these earlier threats wouldn't be an issue any longer,'' adds Mastoras.

Sophos analysts report that they found 1,379 new viruses in November.

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