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  • 8 January 2004 18:13

Top Ten Viruses and Hoaxes Reported to Sophos in December 2003

Sober worm takes top spot again, with new variant.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Sydney, 8 January 2004.

Sophos, a world leader in protecting businesses against spam and viruses, has revealed the top ten viruses and hoaxes causing problems for businesses around the world.

The report, which examines virus and hoax reports in the month of December 2003, shows new worm variants Mimail-K and Sober-C were the most commonly reported, while the Hotmail hoax took the top spot for the fifth month running.

The top ten viruses in December 2003 were as follows:

1. W32/Sober-C (Sober variant) 23.3%

2. W32/Mimail-K (Mimail variant) 21.3%

3. W32/Dumaru-A (Dumaru virus) 13.8%

4. W32/Mimail-J (Mimail variant) 2.7%

5. W32/Mimail-C (Mimail variant) 2.2%

6= W32/Gibe-F (Gibe variant) 1.9%

6= W32/Mimail-I (Mimail variant) 1.9%

8. W32/Klez-H (Klez variant) 1.8%

9= W32/Torvil-A (Torvil worm) 1.6%

9= W32/Mimail-F (Mimail variant) 1.6%

Others 27.9%

Despite topping the worldwide charts in December 2003, the Sober-C worm was a relative rarity in Australia," said Paul Ducklin, Sophos's Head of Technology for Asia Pacific. "It would be nice to be able to say that this is due to better vigilance in this part of the world.

"But if this were so, we would expect other viruses such as Mimail-K, Dumaru-A and Gibe-F, which spread in similar ways, to be similarly missing from ANZ - yet they aren't," observes Ducklin.

"Although Sober-C came out just before Christmas," says Ducklin, "a cynic might say that its absence here can be explained as much by better parties, as by better practice. Whilst we all know that this couldn't possibly be true, it's worth watching out for, if you are only returning from your summer break next week."

Sophos analysed and protected against 730 new viruses in December. The total number of viruses Sophos now protects against is 86,811.

The top ten hoaxes reported to Sophos during December were as follows:

1. Hotmail hoax 21.7%

2. Meninas da Playboy 15.2%

3. A virtual card for you 5.9%

4. Bonsai kitten 5.3%

5. Press 9 5.2%

6. Budweiser frogs screensaver 4.9%

7. JDBGMGR 4.0%

8. Elf Bowling 3.4%

9. Bill Gates fortune 3.2%

10.Frog in a blender/Fish in a bowl 3.0%

Others 28.2%

Sophos has made available a free, constantly updated information feed for intranets and websites which means users can always find out about the latest viruses and hoaxes:

Graphics of the above Top Ten virus chart are available at:

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

About Sophos Sophos is a world leading specialist developer of anti-virus and anti-spam software. Sophos is headquartered in the UK and protects all types of organisations, including small to medium sized businesses, large corporations, banks, governments and educational institutions against viruses and spam. The company is acclaimed for delivering the highest level of customer satisfaction and protection in the industry. Sophos's products, backed by 24 hour support are sold and supported in more than 150 countries.

Sophos's regional head office for Australia and New Zealand is in Sydney and hosts one of the company's three Computer Virus Research and Development Laboratories to provide global support services.

For further information:

Paul Ducklin ( is available for comment: +61 407 320 515 (mobile) +61 2 9409 9100 (tel) +61 2 9409 9191 (fax)

Sophos's press contact at Gotley Nix Evans is: Michael Henderson ( +61 2 9957 5555 (tel) +61 413 054 738 (mobile) +61 2 9957 5575 (fax)

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