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News

US Sees Increase In Junk Mail Last Month

Kaspersky Lab UK : 21 May, 2012  (Technical Article)
E-mail spam increases by over 2 percent in the US according to the latest monthly threat report from Kaspersky Lab
US Sees Increase In Junk Mail Last Month
Kaspersky Lab’s monthly report identified the proportion of spam in email traffic was up 2.2 percentage points in April 2012 compared to the previous month and averaged 77.2 per cent. Major changes in the geographical distribution of spam sources were also reported.

The most noticeable change over the month was a surge in spam originating from the US that saw it jump 18 places, making it the second biggest distributor of junk mail in April 2012. The amount of spam emanating from China also increased – by 5 percentage points – and the country is now ranked fifth among the world’s top sources of spam. Meanwhile, the proportion of unwanted correspondence originating in Indonesia fell by 5.2 percentage points, with the country falling 10 places and ending April in 12th place.

Spammers who spread malicious code and phishing emails are still looking for the best shortcut to reach computer users. In April 2012, Kaspersky Lab detected spam that appeared to be an official Facebook notification announcing a new Friend Request, but in reality it was a malicious mail and the links in the messages took users to infected pages on Wikipedia and Amazon.

Other phishing emails that appeared in spam traffic were playing off the impatience of gamers anxiously awaiting Diablo III’s release. The emails stated they would be given the opportunity to play a beta version of Diablo III for a specific period of time. In order to do so, they would need to enter their personal battle.net account information (a resource where Blizzard account information is stored). The link in the email did not lead to the specified site, but instead to a phishing webpage.

Political spam saw an increase in April 2012, primarily targeting US and French readers. Mentions of Barack Obama in spam emails were as frequent as they were during the first year after his election. Furthermore, his name is used not only in political emails “exposing his political course” or pointing to the allegation that the President of the US “is afraid of losing the upcoming election,” but also in emails advertising a variety of traditional spammer products. For example, his name is mentioned in one mass spam mailing offering Viagra.

There is also more and more spam exploiting the European football championships and the Summer Olympics in London. Many spam mailings offer rooms to football fans that haven’t yet made hotel reservations in Poland and Ukraine. The Olympics are currently the focus of attention among “lottery” scammers who send out emails announcing lottery wins.

“In the months to come, we expect a return of the all-too-familiar spam mailings with scandalous news items about current US President Barack Obama,” says Maria Namestnikova, Senior Spam Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.  “Furthermore, phishing attacks will likely focus more on social networking sites, and possibly online games — as summer vacation is upon us, students on break from school will be more active online. While these users tend not to have bank accounts, they do spend a lot of time on social networks and other online entertainment.”
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