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Experiments by Spammers Raised the Level of Spam in May 2008

The MessageLabs' Intelligence Report for May 2008 claims that spam levels increased and reached 76.8% of all mails during May 2008, highest level since January 2007.

The MessageLabs Researchers informed that increase in spam is due to change in methods adopted by hackers in May 2008, taking a step ahead from reliance on new and detection proof mail attachments. During May 2008, spam methods turned towards the exploitation of free, mainstream hosted services like Google docs and Calendar and Microsoft SkyDrive.

MessageLabs said that during May 2008, the worldwide ratio of spam in mail traffic from latest and earlier known bad sources was 76.8%, a rise of almost 3.3% on April 2008. Further, the global ratio of mail borne viruses in mail traffic from the latest and earlier bad sources was 0.59% in May 2008, an increment of 0.13% since April 2008.

Chief Security Analyst of MessageLabs, Mark Summer said that the smart and witty hackers seem to have left the mail attachment methods, which were new in 2007, and have turned towards exploiting free-hosted applications, which have emerged as mainstream in 2008, as reported by MarketWire on June 3, 2008.

The hackers are getting advantage of the fact that these services are free of cost, offer sufficient bandwidth and are never scrutinized. This is one of the many reasons why the spammers bypass the conventional modes of detection.

Along with various spam techniques, MessageLabs also discovered many latest phishing exploits in May 2008, including one, which targets on a bank's environmentally conscious users. Regarding phishing attacks, MessageLabs discovered 0.38% mails were some from of phishing attack. When analyzed as a proportion of all mail borne threats like trojans and viruses, the amount of phishing mails increased by 23.4% to 64% of total mail borne malware threats reported in May 2008.

In yet another report in May 2008, it was disclosed that Hong Kong acquired the top position as the most spammed country with spam levels touching 85.9% of total mail. Further, the largest increase in spam amount was witnessed in Singapore with an increment of 9.7%.

Related article: Experts Find Two Vulnerabilities in Firefox

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