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Web viruses down while spyware up

ScanSafe released its latest Global Threat Report on Web filtering, spyware and viruses. Among the report’s key findings, ScanSafe reported that Web viruses decreased 47 percent in September, despite recent high-profile Microsoft vulnerabilities, and that one in every 200 Web pages viewed in the workplace were YouTube pages.

The ScanSafe Global Threat Report is based on real-time analysis of more than five billion Web requests and more than 10 million Web threats processed by the company in September and represents the largest analysis of Web security threats based on real-world traffic.

With all the recent attention on Microsoft vulnerabilities and zero-day exploits, an increase in the number of Web viruses was to be expected.

However, despite the hype, a mass outbreak did not occur in September. In fact, none of the top 10 Web viruses blocked by ScanSafe during the month were exploits of Microsoft vulnerabilities uncovered in September, including the much publicized Vector Markup Language vulnerability. While these vulnerabilities were exploited, the exploits did not occur in high volume.

On September 20, reports surfaced of a new vulnerability in Internet Explorer specifically targeting a Windows component called vgx.dll. This component is meant to support Vector Markup Language (VML) documents in the Windows operating system. VML is used for high-quality vector graphics on the Web and is used for viewing pages in the Internet Explorer browser.

The company blocked 158 unique viruses during the month, 31 percent of which were new unique viruses – viruses blocked for the first time by ScanSafe. Zero-hour threats—attacks that appear before an anti-virus signature is available—accounted for 14 percent of all Web-viruses blocked by ScanSafe in September.

In addition to its data on Web viruses, ScanSafe reported that spyware and adware increased 21 percent in September and that 8 percent of the spyware blocks were to prevent already infected PCs from “calling home” or transmitting outbound to a spyware domain.

In addition to its statistics on Web-based malware, ScanSafe reported that during September one in every 200 Web pages viewed in the workplace were YouTube pages.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.