Variants of the Netsky virus remained the most prevalent worms in Ireland last month, carried by almost one in ten emails, new figures have revealed. Monthly statistics from the email and hosting provider IE Internet have also shown a jump in worm infections over the previous month.
The rate of virus or worm infections of May emails was 9.31pc, up from 4.55pc in April. The rate of spam as a percentage of legitimate email traffic was slightly reduced, at 25.13pc for May compared with 26.94pc for April.
For the second month running, Netsky.P and .D were the two most commonly occurring worms in Irish email traffic. In May Netsky.P was found in 28.34pc of all infected messages, down slightly from 34.71pc in April. The remaining four places on the chart were occupied by .D (19.34pc), .Z (10.66pc), .B (8.87pc) and .C (6.04pc). Many of these variants began in March, which suggests that many users and organisations have not installed up-to-date software patches or antivirus tools to prevent their systems becoming infected.
IE Internet’s figures show that just over a quarter of all emails in Ireland are classed as spam. The sources of these mails have remained relatively constant since the Irish firm began tracking email activity. By a clear margin the US is the biggest offender, identified as the source of more than 46pc of spam emails alone. However, sophisticated techniques used by spammers means that it is possible to disguise an email’s real point of origin.
To produce its monthly statistics, IE Internet scans the characteristics of all mail that passes through its systems, although it does not reveal the exact amount of messages that it carries. It manages business email accounts for more than 8,000 individual users in Ireland.
By Gordon Smith