SirCam tops virus charts for July

Code Red may have grabbed the media attention, but the SirCam email worm has continued to top the charts
Written by Wendy McAuliffe, Contributor

Hyped-up warnings about the return of the self-propagating Code Red worm have overshadowed reports of the SirCam virus, which was by far the most prolific virus throughout July.

Anti-virus company Central Command's "Dirty Dozen" report confirms that SirCam was the most prevalent virus for the month. The tracking figures -- which are based on the number of virus attacks confirmed through Central Command's emergency virus response team -- reveals that SirCam accounted for 38 percent of all viruses reported in July.

"Code Red only affects Web servers, whereas SirCam is far more dangerous for home PC users," said DC Andy Cox at the Metropolitan Police's computer crimes unit.

The top 12 virus report positions the malicious Magistr worm in second place, accounting for 14 percent of all virus reports last month. The Visual Basic "Love Bug", which appears in email messages entitled "ILOVEYOU" and destroys user files, steals passwords and replicates itself through the user's address book, is still live and kicking, and amounted to 10 percent of emergency bug reports.

A total of 1022 different viruses and other malicious applications were reported to Central Command in July.

The SirCam worm, which surfaced at the beginning of the month, spreads by emailing copies of itself to everyone in the infected computer's Windows address book. It also sends itself to any email addresses contained in the Web browser's cache files, which store recently viewed pages. The Code Red worm poses no threat to home PC users, since it only attacks servers running Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) software.

Anti-virus firm MessageLabs, which scans and cleans emails for corporate clients, said that in the 24 hours preceding Thursday mid-afternoon, 7491 infections of the SirCam virus had been detected by its servers. This is more than ten times the number of emails infected with the Magistr virus, which stood at 632.

Among today's SirCam reports was a Ukrainian Web site, which claims to have received secret documents from the administration of President Leonid Kuchma. "The SirCam virus, having infected the computers in the presidential administration, is bombarding our editorial department with their documents," the ForUm news Web site told Reuters. Administration officials are now investigating how their computers were infected with the virus.

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