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Commtouch Presents E-mail Threat Report for Q4 2007

Commtouch released its E-mail Threat Report for the quarter on January 8, 2008 after analyzing the weekly e-mails by an automated process.

In its "Q4 2007 E-mail Threats Trend Report", Commtouch writes that there had been a distinct strain of spam moving upwards towards the close of Q4 in 2007. Commtouch named this type of spam as 'address validation spam', which usually consists of empty messages from an unknown address.

As e-mail appears blank or even without a link for phony stock promotion or to advertise products, it appears like a harmless mistake that is regarded as mere junk.

But these messages are actually spam that botnet owners send to test the validity of e-mail addresses they collect and to find out which of the Ids are no longer in use. So the mass of empty messages is sent to determine if the e-mails go through to their destination or bounce back from the servers.

Those addresses that return back are considered inactive and deleted from the spammers' distribution list. The final list can be then rented out to other cyber criminals to earn a higher return.

The report findings also suggest that all through the Q4, there had been numerous outbreaks of spam from the prevailing 'Storm Worm' botnet. This included the MP3 type spam, which distributed an audio message promoting pump and dump stock in an .mp3 attachment. When MP3 spamming was at its peak, it comprised of 7% to 10% of worldwide spam.

President and Chief Technology Officer, Amir Lev, for Commtouch said that all kinds of malicious cyber activity during 2007 originated from botnets. Foxbusiness published this on January 8, 2008.

The Storm botnet so cunningly hides its control channels that the only way to protect against it is by finding and blocking the IP addresses of its zombie computers, Lev added.

The Commtouch report also writes that in another major attack at the end of Q4 2007, malicious e-cards were sent out just before the New Year's holiday. Online scammers exploited the holiday goodwill with subject lines that helped bypass anti-spam filters and eventually users' suspicions.

Related article: Commtouch Releases its Latest Report on Trends of E-Mail Threats

» SPAMfighter News - 21-01-2008

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