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Wave of extra spam forecast by SoftScan

SoftScan : 21 August, 2007  (Technical Article)
SoftScan warns of additional spam at the start of the new academic year as students return to their studies.
SoftScan is expecting to see an increase of 40% on normal spam levels during September and reports that already in the last few days the number of spam emails it has stopped has risen dramatically. During the last few months spammers have perfected their techniques on using e-card and document spam and one of the target groups SoftScan believes will be students returning after the summer break.

In recent months, new types of spam have started to circulate, embedded into various document formats including PDF, FDF and DOC. In addition, there has also been a significant rise in e-card spam, where by a user receives an email containing a link to an e-card purported to have come from a friend or family member.

"It is a pattern we've seen in previous years, but this September does look as if it will be the largest increase yet," comments Diego d'Ambra, CTO of SoftScan. "Although we cannot predict with absolute certainty that this tendency for an increase in spam in September will continue, there are some strong indications. Spammers are constantly improving their methods and developing new types of spam to get by the filters. Last autumn it was image spam, this year they've switched their attention to document and e-card spam."

One of the groups that SoftScan believes spammers will be targeting is the large number of students returning to educational institutions after the summer break, who unwittingly bring in laptops already infected. The laptops then provide the spammers with a potential back door to large and fast network resources to continue distributing their wares.

"Students surfing habits makes them the perfect target for malware writers," continues Diego d'Ambra. "Careless users that surf the net, spend time in chat rooms and play online games without sufficient protection on their laptops will inevitably become infected, normally without their knowledge. These machines are probably already part of a Botnet before they are then brought into campuses, providing an easy back door to vast resources of any institute not properly protected."
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