Report: Bugbear, Sobig top viruses so far in 2003

The Bugbear and Sobig viruses top a list of the most frequently occurring viruses of 2003, according to a report put out by antivirus company Sophos PLC.

A total of 3,855 new viruses were introduced in the first half of this year, according to Sophos, an increase of 17.5 percent over the same time last year.

The growth of the Internet, coupled with the wider availability of virus-writing tools, is driving this increase, according to Sophos Senior Security Analyst Chris Belthoff. Many of the virus authors appear to be operating in countries that do not have antivirus laws on the books, he added.

More than half of the viruses that Sophos tracked in 2003 appear to have emerged from Eastern Europe or the Pacific Rim, Belthoff said. "These people are probably of a mindset that they're untouchable under the law," he said.

A greater number of viruses, however, does not necessarily translate into a greater headache for network managers, according to one user. "From a corporate standpoint, the greatest concern that I have is not so much a new virus that's based on an existing virus, it's a new virus using an exploit that, up until now, has not been widely attacked," said Rob Buchwald, a security manager with North Olmsted Ohio's Moen Inc.

Unfortunately, 2003 has seen its fair share of new exploits, including Bugbear and Sobig, which respectively accounted for more than 14 and 18 percent of the inquiries to Sophos's technical support department through June of this year.

"The Bugbear virus was a pretty complicated virus in terms of what it did and the methods it used to spread," said Belthoff. Bugbear would change its appearance, which made it hard for antivirus software vendors to identify it, and it also appeared to target specific companies, he added. "A lot of things in the Bugbear virus were pretty malicious," he said.

Sobig also represents a new direction for virus makers, said Mark Sunner, the chief technical officer of email security company MessageLabs Ltd. "We're now seeing virus technology used by the spam community," he said. Sobig installs a trojan-type virus on any infected machine that could eventually be used as a spam relay point, Sunner said. Infected machines are "effectively waiting for the spammer to come along and connect to them and use the machines for whatever they want," he explained.

The percentage of virus-infected email intercepted by MessageLabs' software had increased by 13.6 percent in the last month, Sunner said.

Sophos declared Avril Lavigne the "virus celebrity of the year so far," thanks to the appearance of two variations of the Avril virus on the company's top ten list. The virus contains a wide range of attachments with names like "AvrilSmiles.exe," prompting the many fans of Lavigne's music to launch the virus.

Avril accounted for over 5 percent of Sophos's customer inquiries, the company said.

The top ten viruses on Sophos's list were, in order of prevalence, Bugbear-B, Sobig-C, Klez-H, Sobig-B, Sobig-A, Avril-B, Bugbear-A, Avril-A, Fizzer-A, and Yaha-E.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?