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News

Spam Danger Increases Despite Volume Reduction

Kaspersky Lab UK : 02 March, 2012  (Technical Article)
Spam levels reduce in past 12 months with increase in dangerous attachments in evidence with 70% increase in spam carrying payloads
Spam Danger Increases Despite Volume Reduction
Thanks to the disabling of major botnets, the volume of spam was greatly reduced in 2011. This is, however, by no means the end of the matter. While the volume of spam is declining, the number of emails containing harmful attachments or links is on the increase. In addition, phishing attacks are becoming more professional.

The unyielding fight against botnets is now working; spam has been reduced to around 80% of the total email traffic, continuing the strong downward trend established in 2009. The percentage of phishing emails has also considerably decreased. In 2011, Kaspersky Lab’s experts identified just 0.02% of the total email volume as phishing – a 15-fold reduction. The spam problem has not, however, been resolved. More and more emails now contain either harmful file attachments or links, with 2011 bringing a 70% increase in such messages.

Although the volume of spam was reduced in 2011, the messages themselves became more dangerous. Spam emails containing harmful attachments or links made up 3.8% of the total email traffic. In such cases, attackers attempted to trick their potential victims into opening the file attachments or clicking on the links. In order to do this, 2011’s spammers used well-known ruses, including disguising their messages as official bank notices or promising sensational content, such as videos or pictures of celebrity deaths.

The topic of phishing is also one that cannot be dismissed. While the number of phishing mails has been considerably reduced, Kaspersky Lab’s security experts are seeing a trend towards more targeted phishing attacks. Rather than sending mass emails, professional phishing attackers are focusing on small, selected groups. This technique, known as “spear phishing”, has the same aims as regular phishing, but is generally carried out in a much more professional manner. Its perpetrators create official-looking registration forms or websites, and even address their victims by name.
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