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NetSky-P tops moribund malware chart

All quiet on the virus front

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September marked a quiet month on the malware front with virus levels at a yearly low and the long-running NetSky-P worm stuck at the top of virus nuisance charts.

Virus-laden email volumes dropped for the third consecutive month from 2.01 per cent in August, to 1.75 per cent in September to reach their lowest levels this year, according to email security firm BlackSpider Technologies. BlackSpider blocked over 2.8m virus contaminated emails during September.

NetSky-P continues to top BlackSpider's virus chart, for the seventh successive month, accounting for 24 per cent of all viruses detected in September. Its a similar story over at security software firm Sophos where NetSky-P, the worm written by convicted German teenager Sven Jaschan, continues to head up the firm's top ten, 19 months after it was first detected. "NetSky-P's continued dominance raises serious questions about the level of security currently deployed by some PC users," said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos.

NetSky-P has risen in prevalence in Sophos's chart for the second consecutive month, up from 14.7 per cent in August to 18.6 per cent in September. There has also been an increase in reports of other old-timers Zafi-D and NetSky-D. The average age of the top ten viruses in Sophos's chart is eight months. Variants of the MyTob worm, which was first identified in March 2005, continue to account for around half of all viruses reported in September.

Security appliance firm Fortinet - which looks at all types of malware in compiling its monthly stats - notes a rise in spware threats in September. Alongside the usual email worms, eBay phishing scams and 180Solutions adware incidents, Fortinet's September top 10 threats list features two additional spyware threats. These are: ZangoSA, a so called "browser helper object," which spies on users' browsing habits, and the one year-old Px, a shady installer, which silently downloads and runs an extensive list of spyware. ®

September top ten virus chart, as compiled by Sophos:

  1. NetSky-P
  2. MyTob-BE
  3. MyTob-AS
  4. Zafi-D
  5. NetSky-D
  6. MyTob-CX
  7. MyTob-EP
  8. MyTob-CJ
  9. MyTob-C
  10. MyTob-CN

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