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Christmas season saw Trojan horse malware prevalence

Sunbelt Software : 05 January, 2010  (Technical Article)
The top ten security threats and most dangerous search terms for December have been reported by Sunbelt Software from the company's Threatnet statistics
Sunbelt Software, a provider of Windows security software, has announced the top 10 most prevalent malware threats for the month of December 2009. The report, compiled from monthly scans performed by Sunbelt's award-winning anti-malware solution, vipre antivirus + antispyware, and its antispyware tool, CounterSpy, is a service of SunbeltLabs. The report also highlights how headline celebrity stories around Brittany Murphy and Tiger Woods were being exploited by unscrupulous operators to distribute Trojans and rogue security solutions.

In December, the landscape continued to be dominated by Trojan horse malware. According to Sunbelt Software ThreatNet statistics, six of the top 10 detections in December were Trojans. The top detection for December, Trojan.Win32.Generic!BT, a generic detection for Trojans, made up 18.69 percent of detected malware in the month. It had also been the top detection in November.

"When nearly 20 percent of our detections for the month are a 'bulk' detection like this, it is evident that Trojans are still a huge threat today. They're being used to download a lot of malware, including rogue security products, bot installers and spyware that steal banking passwords," said Michael St Neitzel, Sunbelt Software vice president of Threat Research.

After holding the top spot on the list for most of 2009, the password-stealing Trojan-Spy.Win32.Zbot.gen held the second position on the list for the second consecutive month, increasing from 6.0 to 6.23 percent of all detections.

Meanwhile, two new detections moved onto this month's top 10 list. Fast Browser Search − a browser toolbar add-on that provides a search box and takes over the default search settings of the browser − with 2.40 percent of overall detections, and Trojan.Win32.Malware - a generic detection of malware that is associated with Trojan horse programs − at 2.23 percent.

"Malicious operators have been using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques in order to lure victims to malicious sites that download Trojans. Their sites place in the top hits in many online search engines when Internet users go looking for current topics in the news," St. Neitzel said.

Some of the most dangerous web searches in December were:

- "Brittany Murphy" (leads to redirect sites selling rogues)
- "chromium os download" (leads to rogue download sites)
- "New Year's Parades"
- "Tiger Woods car crash" (sites offer videos with Trojanised video viewers)
- "Tiger Woods rumours"

The top 10 results represent the number of times a particular malware infection was detected during Vipre and CounterSpy scans that report back to Sunbelt's community of opt-in users. These threats are classified moderate to severe based on method of installation among other criteria established by SunbeltLabs. The majority of these threats propagate through stealth installations or social engineering.

The top 10 most prevalent malware threats for the month of December were:

1 Trojan.Win32.Generic!BT 18.69%
2 Trojan-Spy.Win32.Zbot.gen 6.23%
3 Trojan.Win32.Generic!SB.0 4.09%
4 Exploit.PDF-JS.Gen (v) 3.31%
5 Trojan.ASF.Wimad (v) 2.42%
6 Fast Browser Search 2.40%
7 Trojan.Win32.Malware 2.23%
8 INF.Autorun (v) 1.62%
9 BehavesLike.Win32.Malware (v) 1.18%
10 Trojan.Malware 0.94%
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