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Spam Accounted for 86% of Total E-mails in Dec 2009

According to a threat report from the Web security company 'Websense,' e-mail attacks represent an increasingly sophisticated threat. The Company reveals that during December 2009 alone, spam mails increased 86% of the total e-mails.

Of those spam messages, around 91.4% of e-mail had a URL embedded. Apart from this, 2.9% of malicious e-mails were related to phishing assaults.

During December 2009, numerous prominent attacks that involved socially engineered e-mails were randomly targeted against Internet users. These social-engineering schemes revolved chiefly around - the Facebook Password reset and the H1N1 virus threat.

According to the first trick, an e-mail supposedly from Facebook contains a malware attachment. The e-mail tells the recipient that a resetting of his Facebook password has been done owing to security reasons. Moreover, he should click on the attachment for obtaining the fresh password, the message prompts. But when the attachment is opened, the Trojan downloader 'Bredolab' infects the victim computer.

The second trick involved spam mails have come from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), asking recipients to click on a given web-link to obtain certain "vaccination profile." But upon clicking, the user is redirected to an imposter CDC website that infects his computer. The e-mail displays different subject lines like "Your personal vaccination profile" and "Governmental registration program on the H1N1 vaccination."

In addition, hackers compromised the Fox Sports prestigious website (a unit of the Fox Broadcasting Company) through the bulk Gumblar attack during December 2009.

Cyber criminals also cashed in on Brittany Murphy's death for distributing phony antivirus software through SEO poisoning. Searches for "Brittany Murphy death" on Google returned several web links, which diverted to bogus antivirus sites.

Commenting on rogue antivirus, security researchers stated that it was regarded more profitable compared to spam. While people might go to a spam website, they didn't spend money on the advertised product. In contrast, victims of rogue antivirus were more inclined to pay for something that would eliminate the persistent irritant. Thus, the sales revenue was higher.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center said that the FBI knew about losses that had exceeded $150 Million because of rogue/fake anti-virus programs.

Related article: Spam Scam Bags a Scottish Connection

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