Viruses on the increase: report

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The time it takes for a PC to get infected by an internet worm is dropping, according to a security firm.

The time it takes for a PC to get infected by an internet worm is dropping, according to a security firm.

Research from security firm Sophos found that there is now a 50 percent chance of an unprotected, unpatched Windows PC being infected by an internet worm within 12 minutes of being online.

The company also detected 7944 new viruses in the first six months of this year, a 59 percent increase over the same period last year.

Sean Richmond, senior technical consultant at Sophos Australia and New Zealand, said financial gain -- rather than individual notoriety -- had become more of a motivation.

"Spammers and virus writers have been drawn together with more traditional criminal elements," Richmond said. "This is producing higher numbers of threats targeted at all points of entry to the organisation."

"Businesses in Australia and New Zealand mostly have it right when it comes to protecting their desktops, servers and gateways. On the other hand, we've seen significant numbers of unprotected home computers become zombies for spammers, contributing to Australia's re-entry to the 'dirty-dozen' spammers list in early-2005."

The top three viruses recorded by Sophos' labs in the first six months of this year were Zafi-D, Netsky-P and Sober-N.

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