The Year In Computer Viruses: 2006

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Panda Software, makers of fine computer security and Internet threat protection applications, has released a look-back at computer viruses, spyware and malware that made opening e-mail and surfing porn adult education Web sites so much fun in 2006.

So without further ado, here’s my cut-and-paste job from the release.

– The most moralistic. This award goes to the spyware Zcodec which, among other actions, monitors whether users access certain web pages with pornographic content. This may simply be a way of determining whether the user is a frequent visitor to these types of pages in order to send personalized advertising. On the other hand, perhaps the author of the spyware just has voyeuristic tendencies.

- The worst job applicant. The Eliles.A worm sends out CVs all over the place. It even sends them out to users’ cell phones. It would seem that it has little confidence in its own job prospects.

- The most sensationalist. Sensational headlines have always made an impact, now they are even being used by viruses. Of all those that appeared in 2006, Nuwar.A wins hands down with its declaration of the start of the Third World War.

- The most tenacious. They say that all good things come to an end. It’s a shame that the creators of the Spamta worms haven’t heard the saying. Otherwise, they might have stopped sending wave after wave of almost identical variants of this malicious code.

– The most competitive. Once the Popuper spyware has installed itself on a computer, it runs a pirate version of a well-known antivirus application. Far from trying to do the user a favor, it is actually trying to eliminate any possible rival from the computer. It seems that the fight for supremacy has also reached the world of Internet threats.

- The most diligent. In general, phishing messages are aimed at gathering confidential information such as credit card numbers or account access details in order to steal money. However, this isn’t the case with BarcPhish.HTML, which goes much further, collecting information including expiry dates, CVVs (Card Verification Value), last names, membership numbers, five-digit codes, account numbers, etc. No doubt the creator was thinking “better too much than too little…”

- The biggest snooper. In this case, it was not a difficult choice. WebMic.A is a malicious code that can record sounds and images, using a microphone and WebCam connected to the computer. Of course this is not the sort of uninvited guest you would like to have on your PC.

- The most mischievous. Nedro.B is a worm that seems to get bored after it has infected a computer. Perhaps that’s why it decides to change icons, prevent access to tools, hide file extensions, delete options from the Start menu… and basically cause chaos. Maybe this seems entertaining to someone, but it certainly isn’t for the users.

- The most chaste. Malicious codes that spread across P2P networks use enticing filenames in order to get users to download them voluntarily on to their computers. For this reason, many of these names have pornographic connotations. However, among the more than 37,000 different names used by FormShared.A, none of them make any reference to sex. That’s some kind of record.

- The most archaic. Seemingly there are still some retro virus creators around. Whoever created the DarkFloppy.A worm appears not to have heard of e-mail, instant messaging or P2P systems, as the propagation methods they’ve chosen to spread this malicious code is… floppy disks. Not much chance of a massive epidemic then, is there?

-The most promiscuous. This title goes without a doubt to Gatt.A. This malicious code can infect any platform that it is run on: Windows, Linux, etc.

- The most deceitful. SafetyBar supposedly offers security information and anti-spyware downloads. However, the problem is that once downloaded, these programs then warn the user that the computer is infected by non-existent threats.

Panda Software [company site]

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