Feeds

Sobig-F blamed for massive increase in spam

‘Spam engine’ goes into overdrive

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Seven Steps to Software Security

Two thirds of spam originates from computers infected by viruses such as Sobig-F, according to MessageLabs.

The email filtering firm blames Sobig-F, the world’s fastest spreading virus for a rise in both spam and viruses in 2003.

At its peak, one in every 17 emails stopped by MessageLabs contained a copy of Sobig-F. By December 1, more than 32 million emails containing the virus had been stopped by MessageLabs, making Sobig-F the biggest viral nuisance this year.

The ratio of spam to email this year is one in 2.5, compared with one in 11 a year ago, according to MessageLabs. Meanwhile, the ratio of viruses to email in 2003 is one in 33, compared with one in 212 a year ago. This is a record high for both viruses and spam.

According to MessageLabs, spam and viruses techniques are converging to “steal identities, defraud consumers and create hidden networks of infected consumers to send spam”.

Sobig-F is a classic example of a convergence between spam and virus writing techniques, says Mark Sunner, CTO, MessageLabs: “The convergence of virus and spam techniques has led to a much more sophisticated threat – the impact of which many firms have yet to grasp.

“Sobig sought not only to infect a machine and propagate further through mass mailing techniques, but also to compromise systems by exploiting open proxies. This backdoor route means that an infected PC can be turned into a spam engine."

MessageLabs’ End of Year Report, also notes a huge increase in phishing scams. Customers of NatWest, Citibank, Barclays, Lloyds TSB and eBay have all been targeted in scam emails in the last two months alone.

The Mimail-J virus was used to try to dupe PayPal users into handing over confidential financial information. ®

Top 10 Viruses of 2003, according to MessageLabs

  • Sobig-F (32,432,730)
  • Swen-A (4,184,129)
  • Klez-H (4,006,766)
  • Yaha-E (1,920,424)
  • Dumaru-A (1,129,061)
  • Mimail-A (1,052,481)
  • Yaha-M (862,682)
  • Sobig-A (842,729)
  • BugBear-B (814,865)
  • SirCam.A (511,578)

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.