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Cloudmark Warns Against Operators’ Indifference to Hybrid Attacks

According to reports came in on September 3, 2008, Cloudmark Inc. has warned online users that service providers were placing them in danger by continuously ignoring advanced virus propagation techniques.

According to the company, attackers are shifting from the traditional tricks, such as dispatching e-mails with attachments containing virus-infected documents or virus executables, to using hybrid attacks that include both viruses and spam. In these new attacks, malware creators embed links on advertising or informative e-mails that entice recipients to click on the included links leading to a site that host malware like a worm, virus or a Trojan horse.

Also, according to Cloudmark, these sophisticated attacks embed anti-virus and anti-spam evasion methods to dodge both the traditional anti-virus and spam filters. Majority of the spam filters are incapable to detect these highly procreative threats, as they are not related to the repeated and bulk e-mail techniques usually found in spam.

Similarly, the traditional anti-viruses software failed to catch these e-mails as they have the appearance of phishing/spam. And as these hybrid attacks become common, Cloudmark urges service providers to re-examine their anti-virus tactics and make sure that their e-mail security mechanisms are equipped to detect them.

Security provider states that computers automatically infected with spambots or trojans is a major and widespread tactic to distribute spam and offensive e-mails over the net. Virus writers who control these compromised systems give them out on rent to other attackers who subsequently use them to send phishing messages or fulfill other fraudulent purposes. Further, according to Cloudmark, botnets, networks of infected PCs are believed to be behind 70-80% of the entire global spam.

Jamie de Guerre, Chief Technology Officer, Cloudmark Inc., states that those organizations, which do not upgrade their anti-virus solutions, inadvertently allow the dissemination of bot-infected PCs and spam-spewing botnets, as reported by MarketWatch on September 3, 2008.

Guerre further added that attackers in the present times were merging fraudulent methods and employing next-generation strategies to fulfill their targets like hosting a worm on a compromised site instead of spreading it via an attachment in e-mail.

Related article: Cloudmark Detects Crafty Spam Techniques to Bypass Filters

» SPAMfighter News - 9/15/2008

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