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Spam & Malware-based E-mail Attacks Surged in January 2009

According to AppRiver, the company that specializes in malware filtering, spam and malware attacks through e-mails surged during January 2009, with huge pilings of unwanted junk e-mails and resurgence of worms and viruses.

The firm also revealed that the overall number of e-mails processed by AppRiver during January 2009 increased 120% over December 2008, with an estimated 97% of those e-mails comprising malware distribution and spam schemes.

Security researchers said that Europe produced the highest volume of spam and messaging traffic worldwide at 34% during January 2009, followed by Asia at 27%, South America at 12% and North America at 19%. Drawing a comparison with December 2008, Asia and South America experienced an increased rate of malware and spam campaigns, whereas North America witnessed fall.

Moreover, in terms of country-wise spam volume, Brazil generated the highest number of spam globally, with more than 800,000 Million e-mail messages dispatched from the country. Other countries such as the US, India, China and Russia followed Brazil. Spam also broke out significantly in Ukraine, accounting for more than 150,000 Million e-mails.

Furthermore, AppRiver also detected the most proliferating malware programs in January 2009. These include W32/Trojan3.Vas, UPSTroj.mal.ix, HTML/Iframe!Exploit among others. With respect to worm activity, Waledac (aka Storm Worm), a P2P botnet malware, re-emerged noticeably during January 2009 and is now spreading through Valentine's Day-themed outbreaks, reports AppRiver.

In addition, the Downadup.A/B worm also propagated very fast during the month, making its mark in the company's report. This worm, according to researchers, is still attacking by exploiting many unpatched applications although Microsoft released an end-minute update. Further, the Downadup is extremely advanced and has infected nearly 5 Million computers already, with the maximum rates is generated outside the UK. and US, said researchers.

Finally, according to security experts, spammers' methods have become more sophisticated. Spoofing is also getting popular as scam-artists make recipients believe that the source of the e-mail message is a legitimate entity. AppRiver states that they have identified spoofs masquerading Omaha Steaks a health magazine for men, Food Network, the IRS and Microsoft.

Related article: Spam Scam Bags a Scottish Connection

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