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Surges in Viruses Repeat in 2007

New Postini research claim virus attacks to increase twenty times over 2006 average. Several anti-virus companies have reported the sheer volume to be staggering. The figures stand for December 2006- January 2007.

Postini, an e-mail security firm and the company to initiate the study found two massive e-mail virus attacks occurring across the world over the New Year and the successive two weeks. The attacks were so big that they raised the virus levels by a multiple of 20 above the normal.

The purpose of both attacks were same that to rob personal information of e-mail recipients and compromise several computers to establish a botnet from the zombie PCs.

The study revealed a record level of spam in December 2006 accounting to 94% of e-mail traffic on the Net. Postini arrested over 25 billion spam mails in December last that was 144% higher than that of December 2005.

The security firm said there could be loss of billions of dollars as a result of the potential damage in worker productivity. According to its estimates, devoting a minimum of 15 minutes to clear the spam mails could cost enterprises $3,200 per employee each year. This is aside the financial loss to individuals who suffer a drain of money from their bank accounts or identity theft owing to spam-based fraud.

A large amount of the huge volume of spam in 2007 is arriving from botnets, said Postini. spammers build botnets by snatching control of users' computers and by creating a network with them. They then use the network to deliver unlimited number of spam mails and viruses to nearly choke the Internet. These botnets amount to virtually zero cost for the spammers who use victims' computers and broadband connection.

In a statement on February 6, 2007 executive VP at Postini, Daniel Druker cautions users to be on guard on the eve of Valentine's Day against new variants of the Storm Worm circulating mails with love-related subject heads.

Postini expects spam levels to continue to rise in 2007 as globalization encourages computer owners to connect to high-speed Internet while that could expose PCs to becoming botnets.

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