Attacks via web and email strip businesses of cash

Sophos announces top ten web and email-borne threats for June 2007
Sophos, a world leader in IT security and control, has revealed the most prevalent malware threats causing problems for computer users around the world during June 2007.

The figures, compiled by Sophos's global network of monitoring stations, show a further sharp rise in web-based threats. Sophos uncovered an average of 29,700 new infected web pages every day - around 80 percent of which were located on hacked legitimate sites.

The top ten list of web-based malware threats in June 2007 reads as follows:

1 Mal/Iframe    64.0%
2 Mal/ObfJS    10.1%
3 Troj/Fujif    3.1%
4 Troj/Decdec    2.7%
5 VBS/Redlof    2.5%
6 Troj/Psyme    3.8%
7 Mal/Packer    1.1%
8 Troj/Ifradv    1.0%
8 VBS/Haptime    1.0%
10 Mal/Zlob    0.9%
Others 9.7%

Mal/Iframe, which works by injecting malicious code into web pages, has again topped the chart, accounting for nearly two thirds of the world's infected URLs. Earlier this month, a Mal/Iframe attack on multiple Italian websites occurred, making headlines around the world. More than 10,000 web pages were infected, most of which were on legitimate but compromised websites hosted in Italy. Victim websites included Italian city councils, employment services and tourism sites. Most of the affected pages appear to be hosted by one of the largest ISPs in Italy.

"The Italian Mal/Iframe attack should certainly act as a wake-up call to ISPs across the globe," said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. "Malicious code dumped on these websites is just waiting to pounce on innocent surfers. Websites should be as secure as Fort Knox, but at the moment, too many web pages are easy pickings for cybercriminals."

The top ten list of countries hosting malware-infected web pages in June 2007, reads as follows:

1 China (inc.Hong Kong)    59.3%
2 United States    23.9%
3 Russia    3.6%
4 Germany    1.7%
5 Ukraine    1.4%
6 Italy    1.0%
7 Taiwan    0.8%
7 Brazil    0.8%
7 United Kingdom    0.8%
10 Canada    0.6%
Others 6.2%

While China retains its position at the top of the chart this month, Italy is a new entry and this is largely due to the Iframe attack. ObfJS, which was the second most prevalent web-based threat this month, also contributed to Italy's status in the top ten, following a potent attack on a popular, legitimate web page early in June.

"The fact that China is responsible for such a hefty proportion of the world's infected web pages, should not make other countries rest on their laurels, " continued Theriault. "Italy's rise into the top ten highlights the need for countries around the world to educate ISPs and website administrators to ensure they are properly secured against web threats."

The top ten list of email-based malware threats in June 2007 reads as follows:

1 W32/Netsky    31.4%
2 W32/Mytob    20.9%
3 Mal/Iframe    10.9%
4 W32/MyDoom    6.4%
5 W32/Sality    5.4%
6 W32/Zafi    5.0%
6 W32/Bagle    5.0%
8 Mal/DownLdr    2.6%
8 W32/Stratio    2.6%
10 W32/Nyxem    2.0%
Others 7.8%

Interestingly, Mal/Iframe's appearance in the email-based chart demonstrates that it is not limited to only infecting via the web. Hackers can embed the malware into emails using HTML to exploit users.

Top ten hoaxes and chain letters:

1 Hotmail hoax    32.7%
2 Olympic torch    8.6%
3 A virtual card for you    3.2%
4 Meninas da Playboy    2.6%
5 Bonsai kitten    2.4%
6 MSN is closing down    1.9%
7 Bill Gates fortune    1.9%
8 M&S vouchers    1.8%
9 Justice for Jamie    1.7%
10 Music Top 50    1.6%
Others 41.6%

Sophos experts have compiled simple best practice guides to adopting a multi-layered defense. With blended threats, spam and phishing attacks on the rise it has never been more important to educate end users about how best to protect themselves.


About Sophos

Sophos is a world leader in IT security and control. Sophos offers complete protection and control to business, education and government organizations - defending against known and unknown malware, spyware, intrusions, unwanted applications, spam, policy abuse and uncontrolled network access (NAC). Sophos's reliably engineered, easy-to-operate products protect over 100 million users in more than 150 countries. Through over 20 years' experience and a global network of threat analysis centers, the company responds rapidly to emerging threats and achieves the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the industry. Sophos is a global company with headquarters in Boston, MA, and Oxford, UK.

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