Spam is Getting More Malicious

    November 10, 2009
    Chris Crum

Symantec has released two new reports for the month of November – the State of Spam, and the State of Phishing (both PDFs). The reports highlight a dramatic increase in spam that contains malware. On top of that, junk and malicious email now accounts for close to 9 out of 10 email messages.

The security firm says that a new generation of "Spam Princes" are rising, and that the Asia Pacific region, Japan, and South America have surpassed North America, with regards to where spam is originating from.

"Rising spam levels originating from South America, Asia Pacific and Japan are not altogether surprising when you consider the massive growth of internet connections in these regions," says Amanda Grady, Principal Analyst, Symantec. "Meanwhile, the increased threats to social networking websites is interesting because it shows spammers are hiding behind the reputation and brand trust built by legitimate companies. Social networking sites that have a large user base will continue to be targets of malicious and phishing emails."

Virus DetectedSymantec shares the following findings:

– In October, an average of 1.9% of all spam messages contained malware. This equates to a 0.6% increase from September, when the number of messages containing malware hit a maximum of 4.5% of all spam

– Symantec observed a 17% increase from the previous month in all phishing attacks
– 30% of phishing URLs were generated using phishing toolkits; an increase of 24% from the previous month

–  Symantec observed a 45% increase from September in non-English phishing sites
– More than 97 Web hosting services were used, which accounted for 8% of all phishing attacks; a decrease of 19% in total Web host URLs when compared to the previous month

Symantec’s report of an increase of malware-infected spam is made even more unsettling as news reports surface of computer viruses infecting unknowing victims’ machines with child porn.

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