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Surge in Spam attack

Research conducted by CipherTrust Inc. show that spam numbers recorded a huge growth of 20 percent during the month of May. Compromised computers or Zombies generating spam without the users' knowledge also grew, at a rate of 21 percent.

According to Dmitri Alperovitch, CipherTrust's chief research scientist there has been a huge increase in image spam, which seems to have contributed to the overall growth in spam numbers. Using image based spam, the spammers avoid text and use graphics to send their messages without being stopped by anti-spam filters.

CipherTrust's research points out that about 64 percent of all spam servers are located in Taiwan. These servers act as a source for relaying spam and phishing emails through zombie PCs, all over the world. US follows Taiwan in this list occupying the second spot at 23 percent and China comes third with 3 percent of spam servers.

In order to monitor the activities of spammers CipherTrust deploys a network of zombie like machines. These machines collect the messages send by spammers trying to exploit it. This information is then processed to determine the location of spam servers.

According to Alperovitch, "Taiwan is the new best location for spam servers". About two-thirds of the world's spam servers are located in Taiwan. The cheap availability of bandwidth and 'bullet proof' servers promote the growth of spam servers in Taiwan. These servers are hosted by ISPs, which are resistant to take down attempts by authorities.

There hasn't been any significant growth in spam numbers since last November. Though the sudden spurge in spam numbers in May is disappointing, the number of zombie computers in US seems to be coming down. Alperovitch feels that this decline is due to better enforcement by ISPs in the US.

ISPs in countries such as Taiwan, United States and China provide inexpensive broadband access but are slow to shutdown malicious accounts.

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