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Stocks & Drugs High on Spammers’ Lists in Jan-June 2007

Penny stocks and sexual enhancing drugs have been the common subjects of text and image spam mails during the early half of 2007, according to security vendor BitDefender. The company also reported that spammers usually target only a small number of people to send e-mails after making minor variations in e-mails to bypass detection.

Spamming activities indicated the trend of delivering e-mails to fewer recipients while slightly varying them in the hope of eluding detection, said Vlad Valceanu, head of BitDefender's anti-spam Lab. Smarthouse published this in news on August 14, 2007. According to predictions, there is probability of such activities to rise further in the latter half of 2007. There may also be more use of attachments and some amount of embedded flash as well, added Valceanu.

2007 is seeing new varieties of spam entering the scene. Among them, the hosted-image spam is most notable. This spam provides a link instead of an image. The link connects to a site that hosts the spam campaign. Another variety of spam with much prevalence is spam containing PDF attachments. This type of spam has been existing since the start of 2007.

Messages on 'pump and dump' stocks have also been highly prevalent and spammers have been choosing image spam to send these messages. According to the security vendor, the topics on top of the list of image spam since January 2007 are stock accounting for 75%; sex-related drugs covering 8.1%; replica watches 5%; mortgages 4%; and phishing 2%.

BitDefender Labs found that spammers preferred to choose drug-related subjects. So their messages concentrated on weight loss and sex stimulating drugs covered a good 56.2% of total text spam. Spam messages on replica watches occupied the third position in both text and image spam lists of BitDefender.

So far as anti-spam measures are concerned, malformed mail boundaries is the latest trend whose use makes it difficult to open e-mails for inspection. There is also the use of distorted HTML code to try and baffle analyzers. BitDefender Labs found word obfuscation and Bayes poisoning in less frequent use compared to previous years, concluded BitDefender's report.

Related article: Stock Spamming On the Rise

» SPAMfighter News - 8/30/2007

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