A hit list of the year's top viruses

A malware hall of fame is the latest addition to the year's what's in and what's out lists.

Antivirus vendor Panda Software Inc. of Glendale, Calif., is calling the Sasser worm the most damaging of 2004 because its continual restarts make infected computers virtually unusable. Among Panda's other top infection vectors:

  • Most sophisticated: The Noomy.A worm constructs infected Web pages and sends messages through chat channels

  • Most talkative: Amus.A uses Microsoft Windows XP's speech engine

  • Most musical: Netsky worm variants play a melody for hours after infecting a computer

  • Shyest: Bagle worm variants travel in password-protected and zipped files to elude scanners

  • Most opportunistic: Zafi.D arrives in phony holiday greetings.

Johannes B. Ullrich of the Internet Storm Center, operated by SANS Institute of Bethesda, Md., said the center may present a year-end review of malware in its January

"The year isn't quite over yet, and given the speed at which information security moves, we may still be in for a couple of last-minute surprises," Ullrich said. For example, he said, a new type of worms to exploit the PHP scripting HTML language "shapes up to be a big story."

Ullrich added that SANS does not see any particular threats that affect just governments. "From reports we receive, it appears they are fighting the same battles against bots, viruses and phishing" as the private sector, he said.

For more information about malware in 2004, see:

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