Feeds

Sober storms November virus chart

FBI investigation ruse dupes thousands

Remote control for virtualized desktops

A new variant of the prolific Sober worm has come from nowhere to dominate November malware charts. Despite being detected very late in the month, the Sober-Z worm has stormed to the top of the latest monthly chart compiled by anti-virus firm Sophos.

At its peak, Sober-Z accounted for one in every 13 emails sent and 42.9 per cent of all viruses reported to Sophos. The prolific spread of Sober-Z worm pushed NetSky-P, the worm written by convicted German teenage virus writer Sven Jaschan, into second place in Sophos's November malware chart. NetSky-P held the top birth in Sophos's chart from July until October prior to being ousted this month.

Sober-Z worm appears as an email attachment in messages purporting to come from police agencies (such as the FBI and the UK's NHTCU) containing bogus warnings that recipients are under investigation for visiting illegal web sites. These messages are designed to dupe recipients into opening infectious attachments. Sober worms are configured to feature in an attached payload to infectious email messages featuring either English and German subject lines and body text.

Once the attached file is run, the worm scans the user's hard drive for email addresses, in its search for fresh targets for infestation. It also attempts to disable security software on infected Windows PCs, leaving users more exposed to further hack attacks. The first variants of the worm were seen more than two years ago but Sober-Z is the most virulent strain to date.

"Since we saw the first Sober worm back in October 2003, its author has tried to improve upon tried-and-tested tricks to dupe computer users into launching infected attachments," said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. "This latest worm purports to be a warning from CIA and FBI agents, accusing recipients of visiting illegal websites. Mocking the feds is a sure-fire way of goading the authorities, and you can't help but wonder whether the author is desperate to be caught."

Aside from Sober-Z, November's chart is dominated by the Mytob, NetSky and Zafi virus families - showing that cyber criminals are increasingly bringing out new variants of established threats in order to maximise their impact.

Sophos's research shows that 2.7 per cent, or one in 38 emails, is viral. Sophos now identifies and protects against a total of 114,082 viruses, an increase of 1,940 on last month. ®

November top ten virus chart, as compiled by Sophos:

  1. Sober-Z
  2. NetSky-P
  3. Mytob-GH
  4. Mytob-EX
  5. Zafi-D
  6. Mytob-BE
  7. Zafi-B
  8. Mytob-AS
  9. NetSky-D
  10. Mytob-C

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.