Asia-Pacific a hotbed of spreading viruses

The Asia-Pacific region is emerging as a hot bed for the spread of computer viruses, says antivirus specialist McAfee.

The Asia-Pacific region is emerging as a hot bed for the spread of computer viruses, says antivirus specialist McAfee.

Globally, there are 250 viruses in the wild and 40 of these have been detected in Australia.

The rise accompanies the increasing use of IT in the region and McAfee's research director for the US-based Anti-Virus Emergency Response Team (AVERT), Vincent Gullotto, says his team is investigating why viruses are becoming more prevalent in the region. McAfee.com's emergency response team is compiling local data to assess the regional trend.

Gullotto points to Homepage as a recent example of a virus that spread rapidly in Australia with little detection in the US. He says the Asia-Pacific research, which is being compiled for the first time, will also look at the relationship between virus detection and particular industries.

While the appearance of macro bugs are dropping and VBS (visual basic script) viruses are on the increase, Gullotto warns there will be an emergence of more Linux viruses over the next 18 months. "There will be more viruses in Linux as its presence in the enterprise space increases; there will also be a migration of viruses to wireless devices," he said. This will be accompanied by more "network aware" viruses and more complex worms.

Last week the US government-funded computer network security group CERT was blasted off the web by denial of service (DoS) attacks.

TrueSecure Asia Pacific CIO Mark Ames warns that such attacks will increase and the rise in frequency will have a huge economic impact. New protocols to deal with DoS attacks are being developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), but this may take years, he says, adding that need to have personal firewalls to prevent Trojan programs from taking them over and ISPs need to invest in filtering systems to trap them.

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