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Adware package tops malware charts for first time

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An adware program - not a virus - topped malware charts for the first time last month.

The Virtumonde-gen adware package appeared more often than any other strain of malware in online scans using tools from Kaspersky Labs during February.

The proliferation of the package was assisted by various strains of Trojan downloader, a type of software that continues to dominate the overall threat landscape, the Russian anti-virus firm reports.

More than half (11) of the new entries in Kaspersky's Online Scanner chart for February 2008 were occupied by Trojans (dialers, droppers, and downloaders). Trojans are often used as a back door that permits other forms of malware, such as the notoriously hard to remove Virtumonde package, on compromised PCs.

"Trojan-Downloaders that go undetected enable cyber criminals to update malware on already compromised machines and so extend their 'shelf-life'," said David Emm, senior technology consultant at Kaspersky Labs UK.

The chart-topper of Kaspersky's January Chart, the Dialer-YZ Trojan, slipped to third place in February.

The variety of malware packages is shown by the fact that 86 per cent of incidents of infection were down to strains that failed to appear in Kaspersky's top 20.

During February the UK was ranked fifth in the world as the source of infected messages, according to Kaspersky's stats. The US topped the list (13.3 per cent), followed by South Korea (7.88 per cent), India (6.05 per cent) and China (5.75 per cent). ®

Kaspersky's online scanner top 10 - February 2008

  1. Virtumonde_gen adware (2.86 per cent)
  2. Bagle-OF email worm (1.32)
  3. Dialer-YZ Trojan (1.27)
  4. Small-ieg Trojan (1.21)
  5. RAS-A password stealer (1.01)
  6. Brontok-Q email email worm (0.75)
  7. Zlob-fjb Trojan downloader (0.72)
  8. Ardamax-n Trojan (0.53)
  9. Rays email worm (0.46)
  10. Agent.dnu Trojan dropper (0.44)

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