A record number of viruses hit the Internet in October but, but none of
them were wide-spread and dangerous.
”We saw more new viruses being written last month than in any month
since our records began in the late 1980s,” says Graham Cluley, a
technology consultant for Sophos Inc., an anti-virus and anti-spam
company with U.S. headquarters in Lynnfield, Mass. ”But even though
these things are being written, it doesn’t necessarily mean the problems
are worsening. Most viruses don’t successfully spread in the wild and
cause a massive epidemic. They weren’t worse, just more than ever
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 in
October than they did in September, which did happen to be a relatively
slow month, according to Steve Sundermeier, a vice president with Central
Command. This past October also saw 35 percent more virus signatures than
the same month in 2004.
”While we were busy in terms of the different variants, nothing really
crazy and big came out,” says Sundermeier. ”The number one [malware] on
our list for October was Netsky-Q, which has been around since March of
2004.” Central Command had name this variant Netsky-P, but recently has
changed the name to Netsky-Q to better match up with other anti-virus
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 new
worm,” Cluley told eSecurityPlanet. ”But virus writers know when
they write a big viruses, it draws attention to them, so they’re writing
more Trojan Horses instead. Trojans don’t spread on their own… This
makes it less likely to make headlines and less likely that the
anti-virus vendors will focus on it.”
The Mytob-GH virus, which came out in the middle of October, is making
the rounds and garnering some attention, Cluley points out. ”We think
that 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 prevalent
At Sophos, they listed:
Sophos analysts report that nearly two-thirds of the viruses reported
during the month were versions of the Mytob worm. They added in their
written report that this month’s chart consists of only three virus
families — Netsky, Mytob and Zafi. They say this indicates that virus
writers are continuing to create variants of established threats, which
prove most effective for financial gain.