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More Of Sophisticated Spam This Year

Escalation in spam levels is foreseen, and the outcome of its push during the Christmas season is likely to trigger off something bigger, said MessageLabs in its January 2007 report.

According to MessageLabs' intelligence report, spam accounts for three-quarters of all e-mail. The firm arrived at this figure by using measures such as blocking any source that can be considered as an open proxy or a botnet. It estimated the gross figure of these sources near about 85%.

MessageLabs found that phishing sites in large numbers are now using Flash content instead of HTML in trying to get past anti-phishing tools. phishing attacks that make attempts to extort sensitive information such as credit card and bank account data from users' PCs, is giving shape to botnets, expanding the global battlefield. Botnets are networks of millions of compromised computers through which massive volumes of spam mails are sent out to launch phishing attacks that yield hundreds of million dollars as illicit earnings every month.

However, the spamming technique has become more sophisticated as is evident from the creation of 'Spamthru' Trojan that kicked off the spike in the Christmas season. When such malicious code infect systems they come under the command of a botnet, which in turn obeys commands of another computer called the botnet header or the command and control center. These botnets acquire its own anti-virus software via hacking with the idea to clean off any infections already in them using up the cleared space for itself.

Although there has been a sharp rise in viruses and trojans since November 2006 the present level is 0.83%, down from a historical peak of 9.6% in April 2004.

Very similar to the virus landscape of 2006, this year also started with a surge of Wazerov attacks in January. The release of the recent Storm Worm followed the same strategy. MessageLabs commented that the new virus attacks are more challenging to defend against. In addition the large number of their variants possess combinations of anti-counter measure features such as rootkit technology, which makes anti-virus solutions hard to eliminate the virus.

Related article: More Requests For Better E-Mail and Spam Control

» SPAMfighter News - 2/3/2007

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