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Increased social networking attacks feature in Symantec State of Spam and Phishing Report

Symantec : 10 November, 2009  (Technical Article)
Symantec's November report on spam and phishing details the new generation of Eastern "Spam Princes" and the increasing vulnerability of social networking sites to attacks
Symantec's November State of Spam and State of Phishing reports highlight a dramatic increase in spam, with junk and malicious email now accounting for almost 9 in 10 email messages (87 percent). The report also reveals that a new generation of 'Spam Princes' are rising as Asia Pacific and Japan, as well as South America have now surpassed North America, with 23 percent and 22 percent, respectively, of global spam originating from these regions.

The Symantec report also shows that users of social networking websites are coming under increased attack from malware and phishing, with Facebook identified as a prime target for cyber criminals.

Amanda Grady, Principal Analyst, Symantec said: "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. 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."

Other key findings from the Symantec State of Spam and State of Phishing reports include:

* In October 2009, an average of 1.9 percent of all spam messages contained malware. This equates to a 0.6 percent increase from September 2009 when the number of messages containing malware hit a maximum of 4.5 percent of all spam
* Symantec observed a 17 percent increase from the previous month in all phishing attacks
* 30 percent of phishing URLs were generated using phishing toolkits; an increase of 24 percent from the previous month
* Symantec observed a 45 percent increase from September in non-English phishing sites
* More than 97 Web hosting services were used, which accounted for 8 percent of all phishing attacks; a decrease of 19 percent in total Web host URLs when compared to the previous month
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