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Spam Getting more Sophisticated & Targeted

While the volumes of malware and spam continue to increase, the attacks as well are getting sophisticated and targeted than ever before, according to the Internet Security Report for 2008 by IronPort, a provider of e-mail security and a body of Cisco Systems that develops anti-spam and anti-virus solutions.

The report noted that the earlier forms of spam mails primarily advertised products like pharmaceuticals, mortgages carrying low interest etc.

But today, spam uses more of links that connect to malware-distributing websites. This expands the dimensions of the 'botnet' from where the spam originated.

According to Vice President of marketing, Tom Gillis, for IronPort, 2007 is a prominent year for the evolution of new attack techniques while designing malware has flattened. Some of these attacks are so complex that only sophisticated development and research could have designed them. Obviously, they are not the creations of novices. SDA ASIA published Gillis' statement on December 14, 2007. Gillis said that for some time, security products developed to deal with malware are successfully working, but then the threats that were being fought are compelled to change to new forms. In 2007, a number of these threats adapted the new changes. malware became stealthier and increased in sophistication.

In 2007, The Threat Operations Center of IronPort found that 'dirty spam', which has embedded links connecting to known malicious sites, increased 253%. The development of 'dirty spam' points to virus writers using combinations of Web techniques and e-mail to breed threats.

Another threat namely viruses, although less visible, are increasing both in type and number. In 2007, viruses took up polymorphic form having greater association with 'Storm' and other botnets.

In past years, spamming operations used typical methods of embedded images that lasted for months. But the recent techniques like the 'mp3 spam' normally last for at most three days.

Unlike in 2006, when image-type spam was the basic technique, 2007 has seen 20 different types of attachments used in various short-lived attacks, the report said.

IronPort also indicated that the UK gets 20 Billion spam mails every day, equivalent of 300 per person, with just China and USA getting more.

Related article: Spam Scam Bags a Scottish Connection

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