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Whitehall and Microsoft thrashing out 1-year NHS WinXP lifeline

The Department of Health and Microsoft are thrashing out a one-year support deal for tens of thousands of NHS PCs running Windows XP. The agreement would give hospitals, trusts and GPs across England and Wales time to back away from Windows XP and implement a newer operating system. A deal would mean Microsoft continues to …
The Register breaking news

Viruses up - or down

The Sasser worm dominated virus incident reports last month, according to anti-virus firm Sophos. The prolific worm accounted for over half of the support calls to Sophos in May. Variants of the NetSky worm occupied positions two to seven in Sophos' monthly chart. NetSky also featured strongly in monthly stats from email …
John Leyden, 01 Jun 2004
The Register breaking news

Hybrid viruses set to become bigger threat

Viruses which try to infect users through a variety of means, such as the infamous Nimda worm, and mass mailers are predicted to become even more of a problem for Internet users next year. That's the prediction of anti-virus firm Sophos which has gazed into the crystal ball and come up with some predictions for the threats we' …
John Leyden, 27 Nov 2001
The Register breaking news

Canadian Uni to run virus writing course

Canada's University of Calgary is to run a course in writing malicious computer viruses. Computer Viruses and Malware focuses on "developing malicious software such as computer viruses, worms and Trojan horses". It kicks off in the autumn. Course leader Dr. John Aycock,is said to have convinced the University to authorise …
John Leyden, 24 May 2003
The Register breaking news

Virus arms race primes malware numbers surge

Half (52 per cent) of new malware strains only stick around for 24 hours or less. The prevalence of short lived variants reflects a tactic by miscreants aimed at overloading security firms so that more damaging strains of malware remain undetected for longer, according to a study by Panda Security. The security firm, based in …
John Leyden, 13 Aug 2009
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Spam: now made in China

The politics of unwanted email is changing with China set to overtake the US any day now as the originator of most Irish inbox clutter. Figures for November from Irish email monitoring firm IE Internet show that although the US is still the world leader with 27 per cent of dodgy emails originating there, this is a huge drop on …
Maxim Kelly, 04 Dec 2006
The Register breaking news

All quiet on the malware front

The nasty Zafi-B worm displaced Sasser and NetSky variants as the single most annoying virus last month. The worm, which spreads by email and over P2P file sharing networks, accounted for almost a third of all viruses spotted by anti-virus firm Sophos in June. The variety of social engineering tricks used by Zafi-B accounts for …
John Leyden, 01 Jul 2004
The Register breaking news

Small businesses improving email security

Email security is improving among small businesses, according to VIA NET.WORKS. The hosting provider notes the number of infected emails is dropping, despite a rise in new viruses. Small businesses have often been blamed for proliferating viruses, usually because many lack security expertise. Earlier this year a survey by the …
Startups.co.uk, 08 Nov 2004
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Undead worms dominate Halloween viral chart

NetSky-P and Zafi-B continue to be the most frequent causes of computer virus infestation months after their releases in March and June this year. NetSky-P accounted for more than a third (35.8 per cent) of all viral incidents monitored by anti-virus firm Sophos in October. More than a quarter (28 per cent) of other reports …
John Leyden, 01 Nov 2004
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Get your Mac, it's raining Trojans

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 …
Lucy Sherriff, 05 Jul 2006
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October breaks malware production records

October saw the biggest increase in virus numbers since anti-virus firm Sophos began tracking outbreaks in 1988. The security vendor now identifies and protects against a total of 112,142 viruses, an increase of 1,685 on September. Rather than creating new viral strains, the bad guys are churning out multiple new variants of …
John Leyden, 01 Nov 2005
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Slack users blamed for virus longevity

The three month-old Zafi-B worm was the number one virus in August, indicating that to few users are bothering to update their antivirus software. According to Sophos, the top 10 reported viruses in August have all been in existence for months. The IT security firm notes that the Zafi-B virus continues to wreak havoc on global …
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Phishing attacks soar as viral onslaught wanes

The volume of phishing attacks on UK businesses in July increased 45 per cent, according to email security company BlackSpider Technologies. BlackSpider detected more than 360,000 emails carrying a phishing threat in July, compared to just under 250,000 in June 2005. Spam levels reached a yearly high in July, accounting for 77 …
John Leyden, 29 Jul 2005
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Security threats soar in 2005

Nearly 16,000 new viruses, worms and Trojans have appeared in 2005, but criminals are moving their focus to niche targeted groups with specially customised malware to steal data and cash. The huge increase in the number of malware programs stems from the activities of criminal gangs intent on using trojans, worms and viruses to …
The Register breaking news

'White collar' virus writers make cash from chaos

Virus writing has changed from a cottage industry to a commercial enterprise, according to Sophos, the anti-virus firm Sophos. It reports a 51.8 per cent increase in new viruses in 2004. Many of the 10,724 new viruses (up from 7,064 in 2003) surrendered control of infected PCs to virus writers, for use in distributing spam or …
John Leyden, 07 Dec 2004
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Unipalm ups Symantec range

Unipalm has been chosen to distribute Symantec's Sygate and WholeSecurity products. Symantec bought Sygate in August 2005 and picked up WholeSecurity in September 2005. WholeSecurity aims to protect against "day zero" attacks. Traditional anti-virus protection works by checking incoming messages against a list of known attacks …
John Oates, 27 Mar 2006
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Malware authors up the ante

Malware authors have increased both the volume and sophistication of their attacks over the last six months. In the first half of 2005 anti-virus firm Sophos detected and protected against 7,944 new viruses - up 59 per cent from the first six months of 2004. The number of keylogging Trojans has tripled in the first six months of …
John Leyden, 01 Jul 2005
The Register breaking news

BugBear – nasty email virus

Bugbear is the latest mass-mailing virus to target Windows users. And it's a baddie, able to compromise passwords on victims' machines. BugBear can propagate using the MIME MS01-020 vulnerability and is particularly difficult to spot. This is because it normally arrives in email with variable subject, text and attachment names …
John Leyden, 02 Oct 2002
The Register breaking news

Klez-H remains top nuisance

Klez, yet again, is the most-reported viral menace on the Internet. The virus accounted for 12.7 per cent of support calls in April to AV firm Sophos. April marks the fifteenth month on the trot that Klez-H has appeared in Sophos' top ten chart. The only new entry on Sophos' April chart is Datemake, a type of malware known as …
John Leyden, 01 May 2003
The Register breaking news

SirCam tops Virus charts

SirCam has retained the dubious distinction of being the most infectious computer virus for the last month. The privacy-threatening, bandwidth-stealing worm headed the monthly chart of virus reports compiled by antivirus vendor Sophos and accounted for 48.9 per cent of calls to its support centre in August. It was followed by …
John Leyden, 04 Sep 2001
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Sober worm tops May viral charts

The new Sober-N worm, which poses as offers for free tickets for the 2006 World Cup, toppled Zafi-D as the most popular, sorry, prevalent virus on the internet last month. Zafi-D, showing the sort of chart topping success that record industry execs would give their right nostril for, spent five straight months in the top spot …
John Leyden, 01 Jun 2005
The Register breaking news

Sasser kid blamed for viral plague

A staggering 70 per cent of viral activity in the first half of this year can be linked to just one German teenager, according to anti-virus firm Sophos. Sven Jaschan, 18, the self-confessed author of the NetSky and Sasser worms is blamed by Sophos for the vast majority of viral reports it recorded during the first six months …
John Leyden, 30 Jul 2004
The Register breaking news

SirCam tops July virus charts

The privacy-threatening, bandwidth-stealing SirCam worm topped the Virus charts in June. Sircam accounted for a whopping 65.2 per cent of calls to the support centre of antivirus vendor Sophos. It was followed by Magistr (10.4 per cent), last month's chart topper, and Hybris (4.1 per cent). Sophos found 1276 new viruses during …
John Leyden, 06 Aug 2001
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Trend Micro's CEO says 'AV industry sucks'

Trend Micro’s CEO threw down the gauntlet to her competitors last week, proclaiming that hackers are ahead of the game and that the anti-virus industry “sucks”. Chief exec Eva Chen, who co-founded the Tokyo, Japan headquartered-firm in 1988 with Steve Chang, announced last Wednesday a radical shift in business strategy for Trend …
Kelly Fiveash, 22 Jun 2008
The Register breaking news

BadTrans-B tops virus charts

BadTrans-B remains, two months after it was first released, the most infectious virus on the Internet. The mass-mailing email worm heads the monthly chart of virus reports compiled by antivirus vendor Sophos and accounts for 61.1 per cent of calls to its support centre this month. It was followed by MyParty-A (4.3 per cent), …
John Leyden, 31 Jan 2002
The Register breaking news

Belgian police arrest female virus writer

A 19 year-old female technology student suspected of being the infamous virus writer Gigabyte was arrested by Belgian police last weekend. The woman was charged with computer data sabotage offences, Belgian daily La Libre Belgique reports. Her alleged crimes are punishable by up to three years in prison and fines of up to €100, …
John Leyden, 16 Feb 2004
The Register breaking news

Netsky tops virus charts by a country mile

The Netsky worm beat off a strong challenge from various Bagle virus variants to top the malware charts last month. Message filtering firm MessageLabs blocked more than four million Netsky-infected emails in March. Netsky-C (2 million plus interceptions over the last four weeks) and Netsky-B (1.2 million). The other entrants in …
John Leyden, 01 Apr 2004
The Register breaking news

Nimda worms its way to top of September virus chart

The Nimda worm was the most infectious computer virus last month, according to the number of calls logged by anti-virus vendor Sophos. The prolific worm, which spreads via email or by scanning and uploading itself onto vulnerable Web servers (among other methods), accounted for 71.1 per cent of calls to Sophos' support centre …
John Leyden, 01 Oct 2001
The Register breaking news

Klez tops 2002 virus charts

Klez is the most abundant virus for 2002, according to Sophos, the anti-virus software firm. The second most common virus is the Bugbear worm, which made the number two slot even though it was only detected in October 2002. In third place comes Badtrans, the password-stealing worm which was first detected in November 2001. …
The Register breaking news

Claranet drops virus outbreak blocker

Claranet, the leading British ISP, this week abandoned its first line of defence against email-borne viruses following performance issues with its in-house developed technology, its global mail filter. Claranet continues to market to business users a separate service which uses more sophisticated virus scanning and filtering. …
John Leyden, 23 Oct 2002
The Register breaking news

Computer virus threats on the decline?

Many security analysts agree that there has been an apparent fall in virus attacks in 2002, but they still warn potential victims to keep their guard up. In July UK-based anti-virus company Sophos said that it had detected and protected against 3,279 new viruses in the first six months of 2002. And during this period, the …
The Register breaking news

A Special Needs Class

The University of Calgary's new course in virus-writing begs the question: is it a cheap publicity stunt or just boneheaded educating, asks SecurityFocus columnist George Smith. Did you hear the one about the college professor and his virus-writers course? For the final exam students had to work up viruses that land them in …
George Smith, 02 Jun 2003
The Register breaking news

Virus writers boost output in 2003

Virus writing over the first six months of this year has increased sharply. Anti-virus firm Sophos has detected 3,855 new viruses in the first six months of 2003, up 17.5 per cent on the same period last year. Since January 2003, the single most prevalent virus was the Bugbear-B worm, accounting for almost 12 per cent of …
John Leyden, 30 Jun 2003
The Register breaking news

Invasion of the identity snatchers

Last year I was the victim of identity theft, a sobering reality in today's world. An unscrupulous criminal managed to social engineer his way past the formidable security checks and balances provided by my credit card company, my bank, and one of my investment accounts. He methodically researched my background and personal …
Kelly Martin, 24 Sep 2004
The Register breaking news

CIH virus hits Taiwan hardest

The CIH virus struck hardest among countries where pirated software was most prolific, according to software company Data Fellows. The bug, which hit about 300 users – or 20 known companies - in the UK, caused most damage in Asia. Thousands of hard disks were overwritten overnight on 25 and 26 May in Taiwan alone, says the anti- …
Linda Harrison, 29 Apr 1999
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Stealth techniques push malware under the radar

Increased use of stealth techniques such as rootkits is leading to fewer reports of new viruses, according to a study by net security outfit VeriSign iDefense. Since 2003, VeriSign iDefense has been collecting and recording information on every uniquely identifiable malicious code, using public and private resources. Discovery …
John Leyden, 03 Oct 2006
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Full disclosure put on trial in France

The trial of a French security researcher last week has become a cause celebre. Its outcome will decide if interested parties can "peek under the bonnet" in testing the road-worthiness of security products without falling foul of French law. The case began more than three years ago when Guillaume Tena (AKA Guillermito) released …
John Leyden, 12 Jan 2005
The Register breaking news

Win2k virus beats Win2k to release

Windows 2000 hasn't even been released yet, but virus writers are already hard at work. A new virus called Win2K.Inta - written by the 29A virus group – has been identified. Win2K.Inta was spotted by F-Secure – the anti-virus firm formerly known as Data Fellows. Mikko Hypponen, head of anti-virus research at F-Secure, said it is …
The Register breaking news

The polluted Internet

I've spent a significant amount of time in New Delhi - which was, until a few years ago, one of the most polluted cities on the planet - and I've seen the effects of all those toxic fumes. A low cloud of fog lines the narrow streets at night, and the pollution seeps in through the windows while most people are fast asleep, …
Kelly Martin, 27 Aug 2004
The Register breaking news

Nachi variant wipes MyDoom from PCs

A new variant of the Nachi worm which attempts to cleanse computers infected by MyDoom and download Microsoft security patches to unprotected computers has careened onto the Net this morning. Nachi-B (AKA Welchi) uses the same security vulnerability exploited by the Blaster worm to spread. Once it infects target machines the …
John Leyden, 12 Feb 2004
The Register breaking news

Bagle copycat builds Zombie attack network

Virus writers have released a new version of the Bagle worm, on the back of the source code released into the wild earlier this month. Bagle-AF (AKA Bagle-AB or the 'Apprentice' worm) is spreading quickly across the Net, following its release yesterday. Most anti-virus firms rate it as medium risk. The new Bagle worm was made …
John Leyden, 16 Jul 2004
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Automatic graylisting of unwanted software

As network perimeters become ever more porous, and endpoint security becomes even more critical, companies today are struggling with the problem of unwanted software - whether it's new, unknown, and potentially malicious software, or simply known but non-business applications. Now, a new approach to endpoint security known as …
Todd Brennan, 09 Nov 2005
The Register breaking news

On MS, AV and Addictive Updates

Microsoft's surprise decision this week to buy the antivirus business of little-known Romanian firm GeCAD Software is part of a plan to get users "addicted to WindowsUpdate". Redmond has long toyed with the idea of delivering security patches for its product alongside their own updates for virus definition files. This sounds …
John Leyden, 13 Jun 2003
The Register breaking news

The Persistence of Hoax

Vmyths.com is fading into the sunset, while the virus hoaxes it steadfastly debunked seem to live on forever, writes SecurityFocus columnist George Smith. "I received the e-mail this morning from someone who got it from the governor's office," came the tired complaint. Somewhere in the world, government workers in high place …
George Smith, 14 Jul 2003
The Register breaking news

Witty extinction

The "Witty" worm appeared on 19 March, and within a few short days it completed its mission and effectively disappeared. It received minimal coverage by the major news media outlets and for many people it has already been largely forgotten, a mere blip on the radar among so many blips of new viruses and virus variants that …
Kelly Martin, 07 Apr 2004
The Register breaking news

Fighting the army of byte-eating zombies

Being an intellectual dilettante, the fields of Systems Theory and Knowledge Management interest me greatly. One of the key principles of those fields is the DIKW Hierarchy first developed by Russell Ackoff, the idea that human minds (ideally) interact with the world and progress through what they find in a hierarchical process …
Scott Granneman, 08 Oct 2004
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Desperate PR outfit seeks Valentine's news hook

It will have escaped the notice of few readers that today is Valentine's Day, a celebration of romance, love and all things pink and fluffy. It is also the time of year where there is tangible strain in the air as IT PR companies try desperately to find some way of putting a cupidesque spin on their clients' product lines. It …
Lucy Sherriff, 14 Feb 2005
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Cockney duck catches viral confusion

Regular readers will know that our security man, John 'Bin' Leyden, is usually pretty much on top of the virus gossip mill: which virus is where and doing what to who, and which celebrity it was seen out with at the Met Bar and so on. So he was most upset this week when two of the leading virus publicity agencies, sorry, anti- …
Lucy Sherriff, 04 Jun 2004