Zlob virus heats up Canada’s malware numbers

The proliferation of Trojan downloader virus has caused a considerable spike in the country’s malware infection rankings.

Canada remains, well typically Canadian — neither in the list of the world’s top 25 most infected countries nor among the 25 least infected nations, according to the Security Intelligence Report Version 5 from Microsoft Corp.

However, because increasing incidence of Zlob virus infections, the country’s “heat index” jumped by 39.5 per cent during the first six months of 2008 compared to that of the last six months of the previous year, said Mohammad Akif, national security and privacy lead for Microsoft Canada.

He said Canada now has a heat index number of 8.1. This means that out of 1,000 computers inspected by Microsoft, at least 8.1 of machines required malware removal. The worldwide average heat reading is 10.0.

The security report collects data from more than 450 million enterprise and privately used computers that use Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT).

Back in April, Microsoft reported that Zlob bested the Trojan Hotbar.

“The Zlob Trojan is Canada’s public enemy number one,” said Akif.

He said there are about 86, 000 variants of Zlob globally with 571 variants being developed each day. The Zlob infects a PC through the Internet browser. It appears as a spyware tool but when installed actually downloads malware that steals the user’s ID, said Akif.

Microsoft’s MSRT has so far removed Zlobs from 155, 6444 Canadian PCs.

The top seven countries with highest infection rates are: Afghanistan, 76.8; Bahrain, 29.2; Morocco, 27.8; Albania, 25.4; Mongolia, 24.7; Brazil, 23.6; and Iraq, 23.6

The seven countries with the lowest infection rates are: Japan, 1.8; Rwanda, 4.2; Austria, 5.2; Germany, 5.3; Finland, 5.7; New Zealand, 6.0; and India, 6.2

The top six malware families in Canada are:

Zlob, Trojan downloader and dropper category, 155,644 infected computers;

ZangoSearch Assistant, adware category, 106,718 infected;

Agent, other Trojans category, 67,098 infected machines;

Vundo, other Trojans category, 60,153 infected;

ZangoShoppingreports, Adware, 53,710 infected; and

Hotbar, Adware, 52,324 machines infected.

Apart from avoiding suspicious sites, installing regular operating system and software updates and patches, and enabling firewalls, users should also take an inventory of all installed software, said Akif.

Many enterprise and home PC contain long neglected software products and applications. Because they are no longer in use, owners often see no need to keep track of required upgrades or patches.

“When left unattended, these applications can become the backdoor through which malware enter. It’s far better to delete these products than hold them out as a welcome mat for attacks.”

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