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Spam Reaches its Peak Position Last Month

After analyzing around 450 Million inboxes globally, Symantec noticed that spam increased to 72% of the total e-mail traffic in November, the maximum percentage for any month in 2007, as per the monthly State of Spam Report by Symantec.

Symantec also reported that it was in November 2007 when traces of Olympics-related spam were found due to 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Also, there was a lot of e-mail harvesting campaign in which Symantec blocked more than 35 Million blank message mails.

Spammers have also started to hunt for new mail addresses and starting a wide harvesting campaign. In a harvesting campaign, hackers started bombarding mail servers with guessed e-mails addresses. The e-mail address which was not denied or rejected was taken as authentic and included in spam list for further attacks.

Typically, spam volume hovers in the 50%-60% range. A Senior Director at Symantec, Doug Bowers, held the spammers responsible for the increment noted in November. He believed that the hackers applied decisive effort in order to increase their capacity and send more mails with the help of tactics viz. Storm worm, as reported by Tech World on December 12, 2007. Doug also said that through the notable increase in spam levels, it is quite apparent that the spammers are getting success.

In niche categories noted in November 2007, spammers masked a virus-hosting site in spam mails through the exploitation of international public interest in the case of the missing Madeleine McCann. Symantec noted another weird sighting of a spam that uses a 'funny.GIF' which displays a snowball hurtling at users through their PCs. Significantly, hackers are also gaining from the season to advertise free gift cards for famous enterprises.

Throughout November, Symantec noticed spam with a seasonal hook. For instance, penny stocks mostly use captions of Thanksgiving as a subject line- spammers use common private Thanksgiving-related words in the subject of mails. Further, this holiday season, Replica products are a favorite with spammers, and replica gear is known to be one of the favorites of spammers. Thus, spammers are advertising their wares by making use of seasonal phrases as subject lines for their mails.

Interestingly, Symantec also recorded spammers turning to new techniques for spamming, like through botnet, audio and video, and have started to make use of protocols for IM, SMS and online games.

Related article: Spam Scam Bags a Scottish Connection

» SPAMfighter News - 22-12-2007

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