Should Happy New Year Virus Be Forgot ?

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Spammers rang in the New Year with a “Happy New Year!” e-mail virus attack. Israeli security company Commtouch reported that there were 3,262 variants in 65 hours. During that period the virus accounted for nearly 12 percent of all e-mail sent worldwide.

What was unique about this virus was the sheer quantity of variants on the virus,” said Rebecca Steinberg Herson, senior director of marketing at Commtouch, Mountain View, CA. “Ten to 12 months ago you’d see a couple of variants on viruses. This one we saw 3,262 variants in 65 hours.”

The way the virus was delivered also complicated efforts to stop its spread. “This outbreak ushered out 2006 with a bang, while loudly forewarning the nature of viral outbreaks in 2007,” said Haggai Carmon, Commtouch Vice President of Products. “During 2006, a growing number of massive server-side polymorphic outbreaks swarmed the Internet and successfully maintained a sizable lead of several hours to weeks ahead of traditional signature-based solutions. Examples of these include Feebs, Stration/Warezov and of course the ‘Happy New Year!’ malware to name just a few. What makes them so unique,” Carmon continued, “is that they are released in a large number of distinct and short-lived variants, making it impossible to generate one signature or heuristic rule to effectively protect against them. In this way, malware writers maximize their chances of infecting the largest number of machines.”

The malware was sent from numerous sources and appears to be a New Year’s greeting. Subject lines of the messages include, “Happy New Year!” and “Happy 2007!”

“The e-mail took advantage of the New Year’s holiday,” Ms. Steinberg Herson said. “I guess the writers of the virus wanted to take advantage of the holiday mood where more people would open the unknown e-mail thinking that they were getting greetings from friends.”

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Mike is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

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