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E-Mail Worms Decline Sharply in 2007

E-mail worms that till recently were abundant on the Internet have reduced drastically in 2007, says a security company. According to UTM security vendor, Fortinet, the attacks by mass-mailing worms have come down by 5% every month since the beginning of this year. Now the scary worms are far below other genre of attacks so far as their volumes are concerned.

The statistics from the firm's report entitled 'The State of Malware' for June 2007 show that volumes of viruses, spyware and software exploits were more or less stable throughout the month. However, trojans showed an increasing trend since February 2007 to become the most dangerous threat.

The company explains the marked decline by presenting a number of reasons. First, users are more careful about suspicious e-mail attachments. Also, corporate houses are deploying improved gateway security to sieve e-mails carrying malicious code. Since e-mail worms in general lure users to click on executable attachments, the sole thought for them is whether to open a particular attachment of leave it as it is.

Another reason could be that attackers are abandoning mass-mailing techniques and turning to targeted attacks to earn better profits. Also, companies are now spending more on threat mitigation programs to safeguard their investment. The rise in deployment of threat mitigation programs diminishes the chances for attacks.

Recent figures from MessageLabs support this theory. They found that new attacks targeted on specific individuals, the C-grade executives in companies to extract confidential corporate information. Although such attacks are rare but they could be more successful than mass-mailing assaults.

However, the total fade out of mass-mailing worms is not going to happen. At most, they might enter a period when they would decline to the lowest levels but then spike occasionally. The best example is that of the Storm Worm, which once again emerged in January 2007 in high volumes and then simmered and definitely decline as the year wears on.

MessageLabs further predicted the Storm Worm to increasingly take up the form of evil political and terrorist messages rather than behave as a tool for financial profits.

Related article: E-Crime Reporting Format To Be Launched in July

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