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The Deadly Duo: Spam and Viruses, April 2006

  |  May 26, 2006   |  Comments

Anti-spam firm Blue Security was shuttered when a spammer issued DOS attacks, threatening the company and affecting operations of some of its users.

Internet security firm Blue Security closed operations when its aggressive tactics angered a spammer enough to issue DOS (define) attacks to the company and five top-tier hosting providers in the U.S. and Canada.

Integrated message management firm Postini found that out of 22 billion messages evaluated last month, 18.5 billion were considered unwanted. That means unwanted email, or spam, accounted for 84 percent of email in April. It is, however, 1 percent down from March.

The number of quarantined viruses remained about even with March levels. Twenty-eight million viruses were stopped by the security firm.

The Top Five Viruses for April 2006
Virus Name Quantity Blocked
Mytob@MM 9,734,948
Netsky 4,948,258
Mytob 4,764,122
Swen 2,157,894
Lovgate 1,774,849
Source: Postini, 2006

Sophos reported a number of arrests and convictions of DOS hackers and virus distributors. A Vietnamese man named Nguyen Thanh Cong was arrested for launching a distributed DOS attack against a commercial Web site. He faces charges of creating a Trojan horse that exploited a Microsoft Internet Explorer flaw. Russian student Sergey Kazachkov was arrested for running a virus distribution Web site. He made available thousands of pieces of malware via two virus exchange Web sites.

A two-year-old virus, Netsky-P, reappeared as the most distributed virus in April. It replaced 22-month-old Zafi-B by a close margin. Eighty-six percent of the threats recognized in April were Trojan horses used by hackers to download malicious code, spy on users, steal information, or gain unauthorized control over recipient consumers.

Top Ten Viruses Reported to Sophos, April 2006
Position Virus Percentage of Reports
1 W32/Netsky-P 18.5
2 W32/Zafi-B 16.9
3 W32/Nyxem-D 8.5
4 (tie) W32/MyDoom-AJ 3.9
4 (tie) W32/Netsky-D 3.9
5 W32/Mytob-FO 3.6
6 W32/Mytob-C 2.8
7 W32/Mytob-Z 2.6
8 W32/Dolebot-A 2.2
9 W32/Mytob-AS 1.3
Others 35.8
Source: Sophos Plc., 2006

Anti-spam player MX Logic finds spam accounted for 61 percent of email in April, up from 56 percent in March. The figure is down from 70 percent registered in April 2005. It finds 0.5 percent of all unsolicited commercial email complies with the CAN-SPAM Act (define). In March, compliance was 0.6 percent, and in April of last year there was a 4 percent compliance rate.

Trojan-spy programs and adware were identified as the dominant type of threat on end-user machines in April, according to Kaspersky and its April Online Scanner Top Twenty.

Online Scanner Top 20, April 2006
Position Name Percentage
1 Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Delf.alf 3.84
2 Trojan-PSW.Win32.LdPinch.akv 3.43
3 Trojan-Spy.Win32.Banker.ark 2.67
4 Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Small.axy 1.71
5 Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Agent.xz 1.63
6 Trojan-Spy.Win32.Banker.anv 1.30
7 Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Delf.ake 1.16
8 Email-Worm.Win32.Rays 0.77
9 Trojan-Spy.Win32.Bancos.ha 0.66
10 Packed.Win32.Tibs 0.57
11 Trojan.Win32.Agent.qt 0.57
12 Virus.VBS.Redlof.a 0.55
13 Virus.Win32.Hidrag.a 0.54
14 not-a-virus:Porn-Dialer.Win32.PluginAccess.gen 0.54
15 Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Harnig.bh 0.53
16 not-a-virus:PSWTool.Win32.RAS.a 0.53
17 Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Harnig.bg 0.52
18 Exploit.HTML.CodeBaseExec 0.52
19 not-a-virus:Monitor.Win32.Perflogger.ad 0.50
20 Backdoor.Win32.Rbot.gen 0.50
Other worms 76.96
Source: Kaspersky Lab, 2006

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Enid Burns

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