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Almost 90% of Mails Sent to firms in Q3 2008 were Spam

PandaLabs announced on October 27, 2008 that less than 6% of mails received by firms in Q3 2008 were legitimate correspondence. Also, 1.43% of mails carried malware.

PandaLabs researchers said that the most commonly used strains of malware in Q3 2008 included NetSky.P, SpamtaLoad.DO and SpamtaLoad.CZ Trojans.

The company also said that the number of infected mails multiplied during September 2008 to 2.34% after staying at low figures since April 2008 (just around 1%).

Chief Corporate Evangelist at PandaLabs, Ryan Sherstobitoff, said that this increment in spam during September 2008 could be linked to the financial crisis as hackers raised the frequency of attacks to increase their chances of success and avoid effects of economic recession, as reported by Blast on October 27, 2008.

In terms of spam, August 2008 was the worst month for firms as 93.01% of mails received were spam, followed by September with 91.89% and July with 90.43%, says the report.

Also, PandaLabs researchers revealed that Q3 2008 witnessed the increased use of .swf (Flash) files to escape anti spam software. This method includes links in junk mails to erotic photos and sensational new headlines that connect to a .swf file. The files are hosted on legitimate sites, but are made to redirect users to the Web page hackers want to advertise. The most commonly used websites in this scheme are fraudulent online pharmacies.

Further, another famous spam that emerged in Q3 2008 was the use of vertical written and hidden characters to deceive content based spam engines. The method is about writing vertically in place of horizontally to escape detection before it comes in the user's inbox. These mails also carry an extra message in white font that can only be viewed once the user selects for content of the mail.

Further, Q3 statistics from others security companies Secure Computing and Sophos tell that spam has multiplied tremendously in that quarter.

Related article: Almost 50% of British Online Surfers Encounter Cyber-Attacks, Talk Talk Discovers

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