Posted by Blanca Carton, January 2011

Every year, PandaLabs, Panda Security’s anti-malware laboratory, publishes an annual malware report discussing the year’s most virulent threats. In 2010, this task was made all the more difficult as PandaLabs had to analyze and shift through no less than 20 million new viruses.

This report is also used as the basis for the company’s ‘Virus Yearbook’, which rather than a definitive list of threats that have infected most computers or caused more damage, is simply a summary of some of the viruses that, for one reason or another, have caught our eye.

Here are the Top Five:

  1. The mischievous Mac lover: This title has been earned by a remote-control program with the worrying name of HellRaiser.A. It only affects Mac systems and needs user consent to install on a computer. Yet once installed, it can take remote control of the system and perform a whole host of functions… it can even open the DVD tray!
  2. The Good Samaritan: Surely some of you will have guessed… Bredolab.Y comes disguised as a message from Microsoft Support claiming that a new security patch for Outlook has to be installed immediately… But watch out! If you download it you will have installed the SecurityTool rogueware, which will start telling you that your system is infected and that you should buy a certain solution to fix it. Of course, if you pay for the program, you will never receive it, it will not resolve the problem and that’s the last you will see of your money…
  3. Linguist of the year: Our award for the linguist of the year goes to MSNWorm.IE. This virus, which in itself is nothing special, is distributed via Messenger with a link tempting the user into viewing a photo… in 18 languages!
  4. The most annoying: Remember how viruses used to be? Or those ‘jokes’ that once installed would ask: “Are you sure you want to close the program? Yes – No?”. No matter what you clicked, the same screen would appear: “Are you sure you want to close the program?”, time and time again, enough to try the patience of a saint… Well that’s what this worm does: Oscarbot.YQ. Once it is installed, start praying, or doing yoga, or meditating… whatever you can think of, because it will drive you mad. Every time you close it, another screen opens asking another question, or opening a browser window, or… The most annoying, without a doubt.
  5. Insect of the year: We would like to make special mention of the Mariposa (Butterfly) botnet, which was dismantled in March and led to the arrest of the creators thanks to the collaboration between Panda Security, the Spanish Civil Guard, FBI and Defense Intelligence… Like a true insect, it fed on the nectar of other people’s computers, flitting from one to another… and compromised a total of 13 million computers around the world.

How to protect yourself against attacks

The first rule is to use your common sense. If you receive an email message with attachments from a dubious source, delete it.

Be careful when surfing the Web. Avoid downloading programs from unknown websites. And even if you know the source, stay alert and take all necessary precautions before opening them.

Finally, to be completely protected it is essential that you have an antivirus installed and updated, regardless of whether your operating system is Windows or Mac.

Remember, if you have any questions about the operation of your product, you can always find the answers in the articles published on the Panda Security support website, in the videos posted on our YouTube Support Channel or by contacting our expert technicians through the Tech Support forum.


This is an extract from the Post published by PandaLabs Recaps Year of Malware with its Virus Yearbook 2010