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Sobering Virus Statistics

The latest iteration of the pesky and persistent e-mail worm dubbed "Sober" continues to clog inboxes around the world a week after it emerged, according to several Internet security companies.

The latest Sober worm arrives as an attachment in an e-mail written either in German or English. The German version pretends to be from FIFA -- the international football (read: soccer) association, telling the recipient that they have won free tickets to the 2006 World Cup soccer match.

E-mail security firm Postini said Monday that the new Sober variant has actually increased its infection rate over the past few days. Postini said while viruses usually represent 2 percent of the total e-mail traffic it filters, 14 percent of all e-mails it filtered over the past three days contained the Sober virus. On Sunday alone, Postini said, the company reported catching more than 12 million Sober-generated e-mails -- more than twice as many instances of a virus than Postini has ever recorded in a 24-hour period.

Last week, anti-virus vendor Sophos said Sober was found in one out of every 22 e-mails going around the Internet, accounting for 79.29 percent of all viruses seen by Sophos's monitoring stations around the world.

I'm sure I don't need to remind our loyal readers of this blog, but be careful with those e-mail attachments -- most e-mail viruses and worms arrive as attached files and appear to come from someone you know. It's a good idea to use an antivirus program that scans all incoming e-mails for viruses (most antivirus programs -- even free ones -- do this by default or with very little tweaking). Barring that, consider submitting the file to a free online virus scanning service.

The Sober family of worms show that e-mail remains a wildly successful medium for spreading viruses; the first version of the worm surfaced in October 2003.

By Brian Krebs  |  May 10, 2005; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Latest Warnings  
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