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Symantec: 10-30% of Spam Includes Legitimate Domain

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Security firm Symantec tells WebProNews that nine out of ten spam emails now contain a URL link in the message, and this month, around 5% of all domains found in spam URLs belonged to genuine websites. The top four of those belong to well-known social networking, blogging, file sharing and user-generated content sites.

"Domains belonging to well-known web sites tend to be recycled and used continuously compared with ‘disposable’ domains which are used for a short period of time and never seen again," said Paul Wood, Senior Analyst with Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence. "Perhaps this is because there is some work involved in acquiring them: the legitimate domains require CAPTCHAs to be solved to create the large numbers of accounts that are then used by spammers.”

Spam with Legitimate domains

So far in May, between 10% and 30% of spam containing a URL link has included at least one legitimate domain, the firm says. Additional findings include:

- Botnets Move in to Capitalize on Africa – in the last year, the proportion of global spam that comes from Africa has increased from 2% to 3% of global spam.  This is an increase of 1.2 billion spam emails being sent from Africa every day, compared with 12 months ago…  a significant hike in spam output for Africa, since the volume circulating globally hasn’t significantly changed.

- Soccer World Cup Themed Malware – spam emails have used the World Cup as a hook since late 2009, but in May in May, a malware attack featuring the theme of the competition was discovered. The email attempts to spoof a well-known US soft drink brand, but it had actually been sent from an IP address in Macau, a special administrative region of China.

This month, the most spammed industry sector is Engineering, with a spam rate of 95.1%. Spam levels in the Education sector were 91% The Public sector is still the most targeted industry for malware, with 1 in 74.2 emails being blocked as malicious.

Symantec’s full report can be found here.

More Spam Including Legitimate Social Media Links
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