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Spam Volume Increases with Rise in Websites Hack in July 09

According to an online security company 'Websense' which has issued its July 2009 threat report, high levels of spam still dominate e-mails following a number of prestigious websites that were compromised during the month.

The company states that the websites of Torrent Reactor and Center for Defense Information were both hijacked and injected with malware. On the other hand, a hacker gang broke into ImageShack after substituting all graphics that ImageShack hosted, with a graphic of its own manifesto.

If such a large image-hosting utility could be compromised so easily, there could be little to prevent these criminals from causing more damage, said the security company. The manifesto graphic might have just been an image crafted maliciously to infect an end-user's computer that simply accessed an Internet site, which connected to a graphic available from ImageShack.

Websense adds that users' sharing of their data and services for others to re-use is typically possible due to Web 2.0, and such immense power means immense responsibility.

Coming back to spam, Websense says that it found ill-intended hackers crafting e-mails that publicized the unexpected demise of Emma Watson, the Harry Potter actress. According to Security Labs, the top Google search results related to this subject produced fake and malicious antivirus websites. However, the practice of launching malicious campaigns with phony captions is not new and it will never end, said the company.

Moreover, there was a record increase in spam mails in July 2009 so far during the current year, accounting for 89.3% of the entire e-mail. The month also saw a rise in phishing attacks at 3.5%, the company claims.

Nevertheless, the security researchers state, the rise was only a little from the preceding month of June 2009, suggesting that while the economic conditions remain the same, scammers and spammers continue to work for monetary gains via fraudulent means.

According to Symantec's recent estimates, 'image spam' accounted for 17% of the total spam during July 2009. Additionally, health-related junk e-mails dropped 17%, whereas 'advanced fee' and 'product' spam rose 3% and 8% separately, the company stated.

Related article: Spam Scam Bags a Scottish Connection

» SPAMfighter News - 8/31/2009

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