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Contrasting Views Emerge on PDF Spam

BitDefender, provider of anti-virus solutions and data security software, declared that there was a decline in the volume of PDF-based spam messages over the third and fourth week of July 2007. However, other security vendors and experts have different opinions.

Researchers at BitDefender's labs have detected a fall in the rates of PDF spam, which they attributed to the method's ineffective operation. They said that PDF spam needs increased user interaction unlike that required in standard e-mail spam.

According to predictions by Vlad Valceanu, head of the anti-spam labs at BitDefender, PDF spam would likely continue to fall in the coming months as well without making any significant representation in the world of spam. The wave of this spam reached a peak level recently in the 3rd and 4th week of July 2007, but it was short-lived, Valceanu said. CRN published Valceanu's statement on July 26, 2007.

In another statement, Valceanu said that BitDefender's researchers have found spammers constantly engaged in innovating ever new and more productive mechanisms to deliver spam. There is increasing tendency of PDF spam to become quantifiably less in the approaching weeks and months. Help Net Security published this statement on July 26, 2007.

But Paul Ducklin, head of technology at Sophos, disagrees. According to him, statistics indicate that PDF spam has slightly increased over the weeks in the month of June 2007. Certainly not new in spamming activities, PDF attachments have been sent out in frequent intervals although it is just beginning to be used in big spam campaigns. CRN published Ducklin's statement on July 26, 2007.

Ducklin thinks the change is not statistically significant. It also does not say much about the very near future of spamming operations other than that cyber criminals are well familiar with the technique of PDF attachments and likely to use them more often, he added.

Researchers at McAfee Avert Labs and IBM's X-Force threat analysis center have supported this by publishing reports suggesting a greater adoption of PDF-based spam.

Ducklin remarked that either the spam using PDFs decrease or increase, one would want to eliminate it for good.

Related article: Contract Killer Spam Scam

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