Study: Email-borne malware successfully hit 80 percent of businesses

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Multiple variants of malware carried through emails have successfully entered more than eight out of 10 businesses, a new report shows.

The Osterman Research report, "Messaging Security Market Trends, 2006-2009," shows that viruses, trojans and worms have penetrated 84 percent of the more than 100 medium-to-large organizations polled.

Messaging security firm Commtouch, which announced Osterman's findings, also said malicious users are creating multiple variants of malware to make it "more difficult for signature-based anti-virus solutions to catch every outbreak, since their rules cannot cover every possible variation."

"Virus attacks are much more aggressive and sophisticated than in the past, with zombies distributing rapid, broadly based attacks, with multiple variations of each virus," said Michael Osterman, principal of the research firm. "The best way for companies to avoid being hit is to implement a proactive virus protection solution that does not rely on signatures."

In the first three weeks of July, Commtouch's labs detected and blocked about 235 Mytob variants – an average of 11 a day. Plus, the vendor detected 110 of Scano, 42 of Feebs, 12 of the Lovegate and 10 of Netsky, in addition to 127 other trojan variants.

"The facts speak for themselves: anti-virus solutions experience a delay until new signatures are available," said Amir Lev, CTO of Commtouch. "As a result, the majority of companies running these traditional solutions are being infected by dangerous email messages."

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