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McAfee guide to image spam available for download.

McAfee : 24 May, 2007  (Technical Article)
Image Spam: The New Email Scourge is the title of a document created by McAfee to inform end users of the nature and extent of this threat.
McAfee has announced the availability of "Image Spam: The New Email Scourge," a whitepaper designed to explain how image spam has evolved, why it is more difficult than text spam for most anti-spam filters to detect, and what McAfee is doing to help customers combat the problem. The whitepaper is available for download through the McAfee Threat Centre.

Image spam accounted for up to 50 percent of the total spam received in 2006, compared to less than five percent in 2005. According to recent findings image spam has started to decline in the last few weeks from 50 percent to approximately 20 percent, demonstrating a possible increase in the amount of spam with links to images on image hosting sites, rather than the image being included directly in the email.

"Image spam is increasingly used by spammers to lure recipients into viewing pornography, buying penny stocks or participating in get-rich-quick schemes," said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Avert Labs. "It can churn out hard-to-detect spam messages to a high volume of recipients, making it a highly lucrative business. It's hard to determine if this spam will continue to decline in 2007, but we do believe spammers will continue to develop similar techniques to help improve their evasion skills."

Image spam, which looks just like any other text email, consists of a .jpg or .gif graphic consisting of words embedded in the picture. Although the images used in one spam campaign appear identical in most cases, each image is actually unique, making it very difficult to detect.

McAfee has developed a number of methods to proactively and accurately detect the latest image spam.
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