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February’s High Spam Took Advantage of Recession

As per Symantec's "February 2009 MessageLabs Intelligence Report" released on February 24, 2009, spammers are taking advantage of the current economic downturn to make personal gains.

The report states that although spam dropped 1.3% to 73.3% of the total e-mail in February 2009, the level observed in the beginning of the same month was as high as 79.5%. The spam mails exploiting the recession conditions included text like "Money is tight, times are hard", "Cheaper than you could imagine" and "Get 15% off these", according to the report.

The increase in spam was also because of higher botnet activities along with spammers using the Valentine's Day theme in their messages. Moreover, Symantec reports that February 2009 witnessed the re-emergence of redirects from search engines especially relating to topics on the financial crisis within a year.

According to Symantec, phishing attacks escalated during February 2009, probably with the idea of exploiting consumers' anxiety of the banking sector. Thus, the attacks increased to one phishing message per 190 e-mails, a rise from 1 in 396 during January 2009.

Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst, Symantec, states that given most consumers and organizations have the credit crunch as top of their concerns, phishers and spammers are exploiting this topic for personal gains by targeting people in the current tough time, as reported by NETWORKWORLD on February 24, 2009.

Additionally, the report states that France was regarded as the worst spam-relaying country with levels as high as 74.6% followed by the US at 57%. And while these nations represent the worst spam-producing countries, India has been designated, 'the world's computer virus center,' with one in every 197 messages on its Internet having a virus. Sectors that were most spammed in India included education, marketing/media, recreation, non-profit and general services, said Symantec.

Furthermore, Symantec shows that the worldwide proportion of e-mails carrying viruses in the total e-mail arising from previously unknown and new bad origins was 1 in every 304.9 messages in February 2009, a drop of 0.06% from January 2009. Also, e-mails connecting to malicious sites decreased 7.6% over the same period.

» SPAMfighter News - 3/4/2009

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