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Malware and e-mail

Jan 31, 20061 min
Data Center

I just read that according to security company Sophos “1.4% or one in 70 emails is viral” and …

… that “2,312 new pieces of malware have been recorded this month – an increase of more than a third compared to December’s figures”! They also note that a “hefty proportion of the new malware written at the moment is Trojan horses, which are ideal for financially motivated hackers who want to target specific victims, while keeping their code firmly beneath the radar.” I just received one of these Trojans in an e-mail message. The social engineering part — the text to get me to open the executable in the ZIP file attached to the message — was rather better than usual but you’d have to be pretty naive to run the enclosed program. The frightening thing is that many otherwise intelligent and well-informed people often do open and run the attachments hence the success of this particular category of malware. I have always assumed that users could be educated to avoid such obvious traps but maybe opening e-mail attachments is like breaking the speed limit, you know you shouldn’t do it but you do it anyway. We are doomed.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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