Nearly 2,000 malware threats and hoaxes discovered in August; posing increased dangers for businesses and computer users

SophosLabs identifies the top ten malware threats and hoaxes in August, as well as the continued insecurity caused by Rootkits

LYNNFIELD, Mass., Sept. 1, 2006 -- Sophos today released August's top ten global malware threats and hoaxes. The leader in integrated threat management also released further proof that rootkits continue to infiltrate innocent computer users. In response Sophos is providing users with a free Anti-Rootkit program that detects and eliminates any rootkits on innocent computers.

A recent Sophos Web poll of 335 business users found that 55 percent of respondents worry that a rootkit might infect their computers. A rootkit is a Trojan used to hide the presence of a malicious object that provides access to systems from unauthorized remote users and they typically go undetected by security scanners.

"Most people don't know what a rootkit is, or how to protect themselves against one," indicated Ron O'Brien, Sophos's senior security analyst. "Offering a free Anti-Rootkit will hopefully raise awareness and therefore protect businesses and computer users from these kinds of threats."

Sophos identified 1,998 new threats in August, bringing the total number of malware protected against to 186,665. The majority of the new threats (71.8 percent) were Trojan horses, which, in most cases, are specifically targeted at particular groups of people and do not spread on their own.

The August report features no new entries; however, last month's four most prevalent pieces of malware retained their positions. This month's top two were Netsky-P and Mytob-AS. Protection against Netsky-P has been available for more than two years, yet it remains the most widespread email worm.

Sophos maintains that a large number of computers connected to the internet are simply not protected against threats, which suggests that education on IT security is not making a global impact.

"Continuing to educate and protect businesses is a priority," continued O'Brien. "If businesses are secure, they can focus more time and effort on running their organization and other initiatives as opposed to chasing viruses, rootkits and malware."

The top ten list of malware in August 2006 reads as follows:

     1.  Netsky-P              19.9%
     2.  Mytob-AS              15.8%
     3.  Bagle-Zip              8.0%
     4.  Nyxem-D                6.4%
     5.  Netsky-D               4.4%
     6.  Mytob-C                4.1%
     7.  Mytob-E                3.2% re-entry
     8.  Mydoom-O               3.0%
     9.  Zafi-B                 2.7%
     10. Mytob-FO               1.5%

         Others                31.0%

Graphics of the above top ten malware chart are available at:

For more information about safe computing, including anti-hoax policies, please visit:

About Sophos

Sophos is a world leader in integrated threat management solutions, protecting against known and unknown malware, spyware, intrusions, unwanted applications, spam and policy abuse for business, education and government. Sophos's reliably-engineered, easy-to-operate products protect more than 35 million users in more than 150 countries. Through 20 years' experience and a global network of threat analysis centers, the company responds rapidly to emerging threats -- no matter how complex -- and achieves the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the industry. On the web at:

Jennifer Torode

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