News summary...

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jan 16, 2003

Trend estimates $5b virus damage in 2003, monoculture blues, Symantec 'reels from week of mishaps', more MiMail, and more...

Trend Micro kicks off today's news summary with an estimate that computer viruses caused $55 billion of damage in 2003, and a prediction that 'the spam threat will increase exponentially, and [spam] will become the hideouts for viruses and hacking programs trying to gain an entry into the network.'

Trend is not the only AV company to be pushing its anti-spam products - The Star's TechCentral quotes Charles Cousins, managing director of Sophos Southeast Asia, as saying that it's not worth 'deploying free spam filtering software you find on the Internet ... spam writers use [it] to carry out quality control on their efforts.' This will no doubt upset both MessageLabs and Network Associates whose products are based on the free (as in beer and speech) and widely-acclaimed SpamAssassin.

CNet has a meandering article entitled 'Agriculture epidemics may hold clues to Net viruses', which addresses the role of monoculture in the computing industry, arguing that monoculture in the computing industry leads to the same problems it does in agriculture. Not only has this topic has been pretty well covered ( heise.de, New Scientist, Salon ) elsewhere but the results of a scientific investigation of monoculture carried out by Richard Ford (FIT), and published in the December 2003 issue of Virus Bulletin cast some serious doubt on operating system diversity as a legitimate solution to the problem of malicious mobile code.

Meanwhile, we are told that Security [is] a work in progress for Microsoft - perhaps that's why Microsoft is partnering with NAI to promote 'Personal Firewall Day'.

ARNnet reports that 'Symantec [is reeling] from [a] week of mishaps' after encountering problems with VeriSign certificates and a more recent vulnerability in its LiveUpdate tool. The same article suggests that Symantec may be more than a little unhappy with the amount of media coverage they've received over this, especially considering that there has been more finger pointing over a vulnerability in the bzip2 scanning of Kaspersky, Trend and NAI - but this has gone largely unreported in mainstream media.

Truth News has an interesting article about the possibility of laws that would require consumers to install 'Internet Security' applications, since distributed denial of service attacks could become/are a threat to national security.

Finally at the end of this week, there are reports of a new MiMail variant on the loose - and, according to Kaspersky, more to come.

Posted on 16 January 2003 by Virus Bulletin

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