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NetSky.C Variant Pushes NetSky Family Up Malware Damage List

The emergence of a fast-spreading C variant is pushing the NetSky virus family up a widely watched list of the most damaging viruses and worms.

The London-based security firm mi2g estimates the total damage from the NetSky family at $4.79 billion to $5.86 billion as of Thursday morning. That's enough damage to put NetSky at eighth on mi2g's list of the most damaging malware. The company has been keeping track of economic damage of viruses and worms since 1995.

Still ahead of NetSky on the mi2g list are MyDoom, SoBig, Klez, Mimail, Yaha, Swen and LoveBug. The MyDoom family, in the No. 1 spot, has caused an estimated $69.7 billion to $85.2 billion in damages, according to mi2g.

The NetSky.C mass-mailing worm uses an internal SMTP engine to send itself to email addresses it finds when scanning drives and mapped drives. The worm also searches for shares and copies itself to those folders, researchers say.

According to Symantec, the first version of NetSky appeared on Feb. 16. A NetSky.B emerged two days later and the C variant cropped up on Tuesday. On its five-point scale, with five being the most severe, Symantec rates NetSky a 2, NetSky.B a 4 and NetSky.C a 3.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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