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Christmas Season Spam Predictions From Symantec

Symantec : 20 December, 2010  (Technical Article)
Online Christmas shopping drives spam and phishing attempts skywards with a 30 per cent increase reported in Spam and Phishing Report available from Symantec
Symantec's State of Spam and Phishing report this month has highlighted a 30 per cent rise in product related spam as spammers try to push Christmas gifts and other festive products.

However despite the expected increase in product spam during the run up to Christmas, there were surprising findings indicating a sharp drop in overall spam volume in November - highly unusual for this time of year. The overall drop in spam volume also brought down the overall spam percentage with spam accounting for 84.31 percent of all messages in November, compared with 86.61 percent in October. This is the lowest spam percentage since January 2009, when spam levels were recovering from the McColo shutdown.

However, despite the decline in spam, overall phishing attacks increased by 37 percent. This can be primarily attributed to an increase in both automated toolkit attacks and unique phishing websites. Phishing websites created by automated toolkits increased significantly by about 90 percent and the rise in toolkit phishing was attributed to a phishing attack that spoofed a popular American bank.

The following trends are also highlighted in the November 2010 report:

* Legal action brings unseasonably low spam volumes - typically there is an increase in global spam volume towards the end of the year but with the recent Zeus ring arrests, shutdown, Bredolab Botnet takedown and the Mega-D Botnet author arrest by the FBI, spam volumes have been declining

* 2011 spam predictions - Symantec has identified five key trends for the year ahead:

- Spammers will continue to use both current, and fake, events and news as subject lines
- Spammers and phishers will continue to leverage popular social networking brand to launch attacks
- Spammers are becoming more sophisticated so expect lower volumes of attacks, but for them to be more targeted
- Increasingly successful legal actions, and savvy consumers, will prevent spammers from returning to their former glory faster than they would like
- 2011 will be the year of malware spam - spammers have lost a great part of their infected machines due to recent shutdowns so in order to make up for the loss and rebuild their army of compromised machines, spammers will launch more malware message attacks
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