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High-Profile Flaws in September Unrelated to Virus Rate

An anticipated flood of exploits in September 2006 against Internet Explorer vulnerability could not materialize, according to a recent study by UK-based ScanSafe, a security firm,. It showed that web viruses dropped by half in the month although there were high-profile Microsoft vulnerabilities recently. In contrast,spyware infection increased by 21 percent over the previous month.

Microsoft disclosed that the month of September faced a dramatic fall in viruses and other malware despite numerous high-rate flaws.
Eldar Tuvey, CEO and co-founder of ScanSafe expressed surprise at such a decline in Web virus in the month of September. He said that in the wake of recent focus on Microsoft susceptibilities and 'zero-day' exploits, the company had rather expected an increase in viruses. Although there was so much talk, a mass attack did not take place. Tuvey said that of all the top ten web viruses that ScanSafe spotted and stopped in September, none were exploits of Microsoft vulnerabilities, along with the much known 'Vector Markup Language' vulnerability. While these flaws were exploited, they did not happen in large volumes.

According to reports of September 20 2006, a new susceptibility in IE emerged, specifically attacking a Windows constituent called 'vgx.dll'. This constituent is supposed to support 'Vector Markup Language' documents in the Windows operating system. VML is utilized in high-quality graphics on Web and helps screening pages in the IE browser.

During September, ScanSafe clogged 158 'unique' viruses, of which 31 percent were new viruses. The 'zero-hour' attacks comprised 14 percent of all the web viruses clogged by the company. 'Zero-hour' threats are those that arise before the availability of an anti-virus signature. The drop-off in the web-based virus attacks reversed the trends from previous month. August saw web viruses rise by 23 percent while spyware decline by 12 percent. An explanation to this shift could be the seasonal behavior of malware production, reckons ScanSafe.

Tuvey says that they expect a rise in malware during the holiday season when consumers go shopping online. Therefore, the company cautions users, not to become complacent but adopt all necessary measures to protect systems and networks from Web dangers.

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