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Backscatter Spam Slowing Down E-Mail Accounts

According to an internet security company, SophosLabs, e-mail users all over the world are receiving overwhelming numbers of bounced messages dubbed as "backscatter spam" and believed to be the result of spammers' activity.

The new trend is clogging e-mail accounts; thereby, causing the victims' mailboxes to slow down. According to Dmitry Samosseiko, Manager of SophosLabs, Canada, up to 3% of the total e-mails currently are backscatter, representing a predominant problem that is becoming even worse, as reported by usatoday on October 21, 2008.

According to SophosLabs, spammers gather real e-mail IDs by using computer viruses designed to steal active addresses from databases of large organizations. They then send spam to those addresses as if they have come from familiar individual.

However, the problem becomes acute when spam mails sent from spoofed addresses and target non-existent e-mail IDs. Further, spammers frequently bombard messages to mass e-mail catalogs that contain old or invalid addresses.

Also, when the spam mail bounces back, a non-delivery notice for the message reaches the address of the 'From' field rather than that of to the spammer. As a result, less cautious users receive Non Delivery Reports (NDRs) for e-mail messages they never sent.

Backscatter spam frequently targets those people who have been using the same e-mail address over a long period of time, increasing the chances of the address to float freely in cyberspace. Further, the problem arises in stopping backscatter spam is that the mail systems generally report undeliverable messages in their own separate ways. While certain anti-spam methods can recognize false bounces, many NDRs lack textual evidences that figure out their legitimacy.

Moreover, some NDRs do not contain parts of the actual message. In the current case, evidences are clearly absent with which it can be figured out whether the bounce is false or not. Furthermore, by launching a timely attack, spammers are hoping to dupe less cautious computer users waiting to receive the legitimate messages.

Meanwhile, Sophos suggests computer users worldwide to be cautious while clicking on unsolicited e-mails as well as ensure that they have complete defense against attacks from spam, malware and phishing.

» SPAMfighter News - 11/1/2008

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