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Storm Worm, E-card Spurred Growth in Spam by 17% in Two Days

Secure Computing researcher has noted an increase of 17% in the level of spam from 15 August 2007 to 16 August 2007, which is equal to 89% of all mail during that time. The company attributes this hike to the Storm Worm and high levels of Excel, PDF and e-card spam.

On August 21, 2007, chief researcher of Secure Computing, Dmitri Alperovitch, said to the SCMagazine.com that the level of spam is close to that recorded in December last year, an all time high. He also added that since the Storm Worm appeared around January, it succeeded in creating several zombies and was used primarily to send out stock-based promotions.

Further, he also claimed that they are using more of greeting cards to spread virus, taking control over the machines and enlarging botnets. Dmitri also said that they have associated this to one of the largest groups of spam in Russia. He expects spam to increase 90% of the total mail in September 2007.

In the last few weeks, Sophos has identified resurgence in e-card spam conceived to exploit the user's PC. In a 48-hour period (third week of August), SophosLabs found that deadly e-cards, which were made to exploit the recipients with the JSEcard-A Trojan, accounted for 6.3% of the total spam present in its worldwide spam trap network .

As per the news of SCMagazine.com on August 21, 2007, senior security analyst at Sophos, Ron O'Brien, said that greeting cards are becoming more targeted in their attacks. He also said that they are continuously observing the different kinds of storm malware. The concerning part is the amount at which e-cards are being used, because they have become an important mode of infection, said Ron.

These kinds of mails make use of social engineering to make it appear that the card has been sent by a friend or a family member. Further, this mail also says that it can be viewed simply by clicking the link embedded in the spam message.

Symantec's report "State of Spam" for August 2007 shows that spam using Excel, PDF or other attachments has increased in July 2007, while the use of image spam has gradually declined. Also, in the 3rd week of August, Secure Computing also disclosed that information stealing and backdoor threats has emerged as the greatest threats and are continuously rising.

Related article: Storm Worm Returns with Follow-Up Attack

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