SOURCE: BitDefender

December 18, 2007 08:03 ET

BitDefender Lab's Top 10 Malware List for 2007 Spotlights BotNets as Top Security Threat

BitDefender Also Predicts Continued Growth of Political Spam in Recap of Top Spam for 2007

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA--(Marketwire - December 18, 2007) - BitDefender®, a global provider of award-winning antivirus software and data security solutions, announced today that the Peed bot -- aka "Storm Worm" aka "Nuwar" -- was number one on the BitDefender Top 10 malware list for 2007. According to BitDefender Labs, the spread of the Peed bot has placed it higher than the prolific category of trojan downloaders by almost 10 percent overall, at 33.94 percent of total detections in the past twelve months.

BitDefender also released the top 10 spam list for 2007, and BitDefender's antispam analysts noted the appearance of political spam, which they expect to grow dramatically as the U.S. presidential elections draw nearer.

BitDefender's malware list contains numerous mass mailers, with the Netsky family still dominating the category with three separate entries. According to BitDefender, Netsky.P is possibly the most harmful and long-lived mass mailer of all time.

In the category of viruses proper, BitDefender identified Sality.M as the most-underrated threat of the year, a highly dangerous polymorphic virus which is spread via mail and other means.

On the file infector front, the "most spread" title goes to Virtob.2, a relatively harmless virus with an unfortunate tendency to infect the same files many times over.

BitDefender's 2007 Top 10 malware list includes:

   1.  Trojan.Peed.Gen                 33.94%
   2.  BehavesLike:Trojan.Downloader   24.86%
   3.  Win32.Netsky.P@mm               6.49%
   4.  Trojan.Peed.A                   2.13%
   5.  Win32.Nyxem.E@mm                2.13%
   6.  Win32.Sality.M                  2.06%
   7.  Win32.NetSky.D@mm               2.06%
   8.  Win32.Virtob.2.Gen              1.60%
   9.  Win32.Netsky.AA@mm              1.49%
   10. Trojan.Peed.P                   1.17%

"The past year has seen both the tail end of the mass mailer age and the rise of the botnets as the top threat category," said Viorel Canja, head of BitDefender's Antivirus Lab. "BitDefender's top ten for 2007 also reflects a re-emergence of file infectors as a credible threat, primarily because of widespread P2P sharing. We'll see what the future holds."

According to the BitDefender antispam analysts, stock spam was mostly attachment-based, with image attachments dominating the first half of the year and "experimental" waves of mp3 and PDF spam filling up inboxes in the second half. In the last few months, obfuscated text-only penny stock spam also made a re-appearance. The volume of such spam waves is constantly increasing, so BitDefender specialists expect the trend to continue in 2008, with more emphasis on diversifying the targets, content and appearance of the e-mails, in search of better returns.

BitDefender antispam analysts also found that phishing spam was less prominent, but is much more dangerous, as it causes direct losses to victims (stolen bank accounts usually get "cleaned out" within hours or days). The most common type of phishing spam is based on threats to terminate the account being phished, while a second common variation is to ask a customer to enter their account info to "update the banking security app." The templates used to create these e-mails were generally very well-crafted and extremely similar to the web forms used by the target banks, although spelling mistakes and a web address different from that of the original bank were still apparent in many cases.

BitDefender antispam experts predict that phishing spam will continue to be significant (in volumes and damages alike) next year, with "improvements" expected in the techniques used to defeat antispam filters, as well as increasing use of SSL authentication by phishing websites (to get the all-important "lock icon" look in the victim's browser). Experts also predict that the number of banks targeted will grow significantly.

BitDefender's 2007 Top 10 spam list includes:

   1.    Penny stocks spam
   2.    Drug spam
   3.    Pornography
   4.    Replica watches
   5.    Loans
   6.    Phishing spam
   7.    Pirated software
   8.    Fake job ads
   9.    Dating site spam
   10.   Fake diplomas

For further details on the latest malware and spam detected in the wild, please visit BitDefender's Defense Portal site at:

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