PandaLabs Recaps Year of Malware

ORLANDO, Fla. — PandaLabs, which received more than 20 million new strains of malware in 2010, just released its "Virus Yearbook 2010," a rundown of unique and noteworthy viruses that have appeared over the past 12 months.

The compilation of viruses was wide and varied, with the Mariposa (Butterfly) botnet topping as the insect of the year.

"Like a true insect, it fed on the nectar of other people's computers and flitting from one to another," PandaLabs researchers said. "In total, more than 1 million financial records were stolen using the Marioposa botnet." Panda said a collaborative effort between international agencies led to the arrest of its creators.

Other notable viruses spotted by PandaLabs include:

"The Mischievous Mac Lover": The remote-controlled HellRaiser.A virus only affects Mac systems and needs user consent to install on a computer. Once installed, it can take remote control of the system and perform a host of functions, including opening the DVD tray.

"The Good Samaritan": Bredolab.Y is disguised as a message from Microsoft Support claiming that a new security patch for Microsoft Outlook needed to be installed immediately. Upon download, users were exposed to the SecurityTool rogueware, which told users their systems were infected and then offered a fake solution that many fell for and purchased.

"Linguist of the Year": MSNWorm.IE was distributed via MSN Messenger with a link tempting the user into viewing a photo. This virus was created in 18 languages and features an emoticon at the end ":D" of each note.

"The Most Audacious": The Stuxnet malicious code was designed to target critical infrastructures. The worm exploits a Microsoft USB security hole and silently manipulates the core the control systems.

"The Most Annoying": Oscarbot.YQ was a virus that infects your computer and continually prompted a pop-up window to ask users, "Are you sure you want to close the program? Yes or no?" Regardless of how many times users would close the window the same screen would appear repeatedly.

"The Most Secure Worm": Once installed on a computer, Clippo.A password-protects all office documents. A user then can't open any documents without a password.

"A Victim of the Crisis": Ransom.AB blocks the computer and asks for $12 for a code to unblock it.

"The Most Economical": Classified as adware, SecurityEssentials2010 acts like any other fake antivirus and alerted users to infections on their computers. Since the warning looked like a Microsoft anti-spyware product, many users were duped into buying the fake solution, making it one of the top 10 infections of 2010.