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AppRiver Security Report Delves Spam and Scams for August 2009

According to AppRiver security report for August 2009, there was reappearance of huge numbers of zero-day worms that regulated botnets, typically spewing spam, during August 2009.

Interestingly, about 600 Million spam mails were sent out during August over July 2009. Brazil continued to be the highest spam-producing country; however, India experienced a rise in the threat to the tune of 150 Million e-mails.

Further, there was an astute twist in the 419-type phishing scams during August 2009. The e-mails involved in the 419/Nigerian scams began to emerge in the garb of Yahoo Personals, Kid Rock Fan Club e-mails, and at times even as Dilbert cartoons.

The month witnessed significant number of news on the incident when an unauthorized party added huge numbers of e-mail IDs to the mailing list of the White House. These e-mail IDs were used to leverage a spam outbreak for publicizing health care-related amendments.

According to the report, the month had both plenty and scarce viruses that propagated through e-mail. Researchers observed that there were many consecutive days when merely 60,000-70,000 e-mail-borne viruses were unleashed after which millions of similar viruses got unleashed for just three days. While there were comparatively fewer numbers of zero-day viruses that spread via e-mail during August, the malicious programs overall posed an extremely high threat.

Moreover, there was also an unexpected return of the long-known penny-stock fraud campaign.

Another campaign highlighted in the company's report revolves around Yahoo's CentMail proposal. Researchers state that the campaign is neither a spam nor a scam. This proposal involves charging e-mail users one cent whenever a message is sent out that would be used for embellishing the e-mail with a virtual seal as recognition that the message is legitimate.

Thus, the money gathered would be used to fund the user's chosen charities with hope that the number of e-mails carrying the seal would minimize malicious spam. However, it might be that the spammers would desist paying for sending e-mails. Yet in case sealing phishing e-mails proved a good return, the crime perpetrators would most likely make the payments for defrauding users in full freedom.

Related article: AppRiver Reports Security Trends for November 2008

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