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Number of Spam Laden with Viruses Spike in H2 2009

According to security specialists at Google, the volume of spam during the latter part (H2) of 2009 have grown in such a large proportion that the spam levels from the 'Storm' worm attacks during 2007 appear comparatively small, as reported by Itpro on October 2, 2009.

Other Internet security firms also report surges in spam levels, which can convert users' PCs into "zombies" after compromising them. These compromised systems are subsequently added to the spammers' botnets to capture users' personal information.

Every day during July-September 2009, Google's e-mail security vendor 'Postini' stopped over 100 Million spam mails containing viruses. While 55% of all e-mail-borne viruses were embedded into messages that purported to be from the IRS informing about under-reported income, 33% came with messages that purported to provide parcel tracking attachments, said Postini, as reported by Scmagazineus on October 2, 2009.

Adam Swidler, Senior Product Marketing Manager of Mountain View located Postini, states that the spammers seem to be reseeding their botnets. They are capturing fresh PCs to include them into their networks in place of lost ones which were deactivated on account of compromised ISPs' shutdown in 2008. For accomplishing this task, spammers are employing up-to-date technology, according to Swidler, as reported by Mercurynews on October 2, 2009.

Furthermore, Postini also discovered an increase in the size of messages as there was a resurgence in image spam and viruses with larger payloads. The mean message size had increased 123% per metric i.e. bytes of spam processed for one user since Q3-2008, accounting for a more than twofold increase.

Security specialists stated that the primary reason why spam levels spiked was hackers' attempts to reestablish their botnets following the recent shut down of ISPs like 3FN, McColo etc. By successfully fooling only a small fraction of computer users, bot-herders were amassing systems in hundreds daily to expand their botnets, the specialists added.

McAfee, the security and technology firm, which analyzes over 2 Billion e-mails per day, too states that the amount of spam have grown 141% ever since the beginning of 2009.

Related article: Number of New Daily malware Pieces Soaring High

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