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AV firm tells home users to shun PCs

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Security firm Sophos has issued a call for home computer users to ditch the Windows operating system and switch to Macs for the sake of their safety online.

The call came as part of a report detailing the main trends in malicious software so far this year. The main finding was that all of the top ten threats to online users targeted the Windows environment.

The good news is that viruses and worms seem to have hit "so last season" status, and the numbers of new ones are tailing off. A mere one in 91 emails was a virus, this year, down from one in 35 this time in 2005.

However, the number of new Trojans in circulation is on the up, as is the overall level of malware. Sophos says Trojans account for 82 per cent of new threats, and outnumber new viruses by four to one. This reflects a shift in focus of the average online baddie from mischief making, to stealing money and potentially profitable information.

The company also noted that a new type of threat has emerged, which it calls ransomware. In this case, a Trojan infects a computer and the perpetrator demands money from the victim, who must pay up, or lose all his or her data.

A company spokesman said it was not surprising that sentencing for online offenses was getting harsher, given the changing nature of attacks. ®

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