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Multi-Stage Attacks Feature Highly In Q2 Internet Threat Report

Commtouch : 13 July, 2010  (Technical Article)
Commtouch sees combination of vectors such as social engineering and spam increasingly being successful for cyber criminals as detailed in the company's internet threat report for the second quarter of 2010
Commtouch has released its Internet Threats Trend Report for Q2 2010 and video highlights from the report.

Cybercriminals have been increasing the effectiveness of their individual outreach by creating multi-stage, also known as blended, attacks, which combine messaging and Web elements. They use email or search engine results to lure victims to sites hosting spam advertising, malware, or phishing. The Q2 report analyzes the many methods fraudsters, malware distributors and spammers use to inspire their victims to action, such as leveraging trusted brands like Apple and Google; holidays, such as Mother's Day; or current events, for example, the Football World Cup.

During Q2, Gmail and Yahoo kept the top spots as far as spoofed domains for email distribution, but they have been joined in the top six by Twitter. The Twitter domain was faked in a widespread mailing designed to lure users to a "password reset" Web page that contained malware.

Commtouch's quarterly trend report is based on the analysis of more than two billion email messages daily, as well as the GlobalView URL database, within the company's cloud-based GlobalView Network.

Other highlights from the Q2 Trend Report include:

* Spam levels averaged 82% of all email traffic throughout the quarter, bottoming out at 71% at the start of May and peaking at nearly 92% near the end of June. These numbers are slightly lower than those detected in Q1 and equate to an average of 179 billion spam messages per day.
* Pharmacy spam retained the top spot with 64 percent of all spam.
* An average of 307,000 zombies was activated daily to inflict malicious activity, representing a slight increase over the prior quarter.
* India has surpassed Brazil for the title of the country with the most zombies (13 percent of the world's total).
* TDSS.17 was the most widely distributed email-borne virus, but the Mal/Bredo malware had the most variants - more than 1,800 (more than double the variants of Q1).
* Pornography remains the Web site category most infected with malware.
* In the Web 2.0 sphere of user-generated content, streaming media/downloads is the most popular topic for blog creators.

'Cybercriminals have been forced to change their techniques to evade improved detection technology,' said Asaf Greiner, Commtouch vice president, products. 'Complex multi-stage attacks with improved social engineering are proving to be the preferred technique.'

Commtouch Recurrent Pattern Detection and GlobalView technologies identify and block messaging and Web security threats, including increasingly malicious malware and phishing outbreaks.

Note: Reported global spam levels are based on Internet email traffic as measured from unfiltered data streams, not including internal corporate traffic. Therefore global spam levels will differ from the quantities reaching end user inboxes, due to several possible layers of filtering.
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