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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Trojans On The March

Although virus rates themselves may be falling, Trojans are picking up the slack at an alarming rate, the vendors said.  Another common trend: The growth of malware is almost exclusively targeted at Windows operating system-based PC’s, prompting one security vendor to advise users to switch to Apple Macs.  Security vendor McAfee (Quote, Chart) said it now supports 200,000 threats with security updates, a jump of 100 percent within two years.  In the first six months of 2006 alone, McAfee added 32,000 new threats that it helps customers thwart.  Sophos reported that it is now protecting against 180,292 malware threats in June of 2006, up by 28 percent since June of 2005.  It’s many codes without a real danger,” Panda Software Labs spokesperson Carolina Sanabria told  Sophos is reporting that new Trojans outnumber worms and viruses by a 4-to-1 margin, compared to a 2-to-1 ratio in 2005.

The malware writers are trying to keep the vendors busy while they target malware attacks, such as specific threats sent to specific users for theft purposes, she added.

“Figures may vary from one company and other, of course, but undoubtedly the Trojan hordes, due to their capability to steal passwords, give the creators the chance of stealing money,” Panda Software Labs’ Sanabria said.

The stats arrive at a time when the “classical” viruses (file virus, macro virus, etc) are considered almost dead by firms such as Panda.  Ron O’Brien, senior security analyst at Sophos, explained to that the Mac statement was made in the context of whether the end user is committed to the effort or time to manage and maintain a safe and protected Windows environment.

“The introduction of new security measures, including some planned for Vista, may slow down the rate at which machines are impacted by malware, O’Brien said.  Microsoft, for its part, said it believes Windows customers are becoming increasingly more secure, thanks in part to Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT).  Microsoft claims in a recent report that since it released MSRT, over 270 million unique computers ran the tool for about 2.7 billion executions of the removal tool.

“It’s important to remember that no software is 100 percent secure,” a Microsoft spokesperson told

Posted on 07/06