Sophos released August's top ten global malware threats and hoaxes and gave further proof that rootkits continue to infiltrate innocent computer users.
In response Sophos is providing users with a free Anti-Rootkit program that detects and eliminates any rootkits on innocent computers.
A recent Sophos Web poll of 335 business users found that 55 percent of respondents worry that a rootkit might infect their computers.
A rootkit is a Trojan used to hide the presence of a malicious object that provides access to systems from unauthorized remote users. These root kits typically go undetected by security scanners.
Sophos identified 1,998 new threats in August, bringing the total number of malware protected against to 186,665.
The majority of the new threats (71.8 percent) were Trojan horses, which, in most cases, are specifically targeted at particular groups of people and do not spread on their own.
The August report features no new entries; however, last month's four most prevalent pieces of malware retained their positions. This month's top two were Netsky-P and Mytob-AS.
Protection against Netsky-P has been available for more than two years, yet it remains the most widespread email worm.
Sophos maintains that a large number of computers connected to the internet are simply not protected against threats, which suggests that education on IT security is not making a global impact.
The top ten list of malware in August 2006 reads as follows:
1. Netsky-P (19.9%)
2. Mytob-AS (15.8%)
3. Bagle-Zip (8.0%)
4. Nyxem-D (6.4%)
5. Netsky-D (4.4%)
6. Mytob-C (4.1%)
7. Mytob-E (3.2% re-entry)
8. Mydoom-O (3.0%)
9. Zafi-B (2.7%)
10. Mytob-FO (1.5%)
11. Others (31.0%)