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News

Spoof brands and spam hijacking on the increase

Symantec : 15 January, 2010  (Technical Article)
Parts of December saw as much as a quarter of spam sent out had links that had been hijacked for re-directing to phishing sites
Hijacked spam, spam that contains hijacked IPs, has risen substantially in the past month, warns Symantec's latest Spam and Phishing report, which reveals that an attack at 2pm on Christmas Eve resulted a quarter of the world's spam containing hijacked IPs. This form of spam, also known as "Dotted Quad" spam more than tripled in the last month of 2009, compared with the volume in November 2009.

Symantec's report also highlighted a marked increase in targeted brand attacks, brands that phishing sites spoofed, which increased by two percent from the previous month. Globally the UK was ranked as a top three country for brand attacks, just behind the US, due to the high proportion of Britain-based banking companies targeted by spammers.

Other key findings from the State of Phishing report also show that the UK is rising as a host country for phishing attacks. The UK is now ranked as the fourth most prolific country for hosting phishing sites, up from sixth in November. It also accounted for approximately 7 percent of IP attacks in the month.

Symantec recommends the following best practises to safeguard against falling victim to spam and phishing attacks:

* Use directions provided by your mail administrators to report missed spam if you have an option to do so
* Delete all spam
* Avoid clicking on suspicious links in email or IM messages as these may connect you to spoofed websites
* Type web addresses directly into the browser rather than relying upon links within your messages
* Always be sure that your operating system is up-to-date with the latest updates, and employ a comprehensive security suite
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