August boost for spam

Major spam e-mail campaigns cycled through an average of 72% more domains during August than July, according to security specialist McAfee, in addition to employing many more actual URLs.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  September 13, 2006

Major spam e-mail campaigns cycled through an average of 72% more domains during August than July, according to security specialist McAfee, in addition to employing many more actual URLs. As McAfee puts it in a report released to the region’s press today: “Spam messages usually contain URLs that link to websites where users can purchase items ranging from discounted products and medicines to other services. Spammers tend to use multiple URLs in their campaigns as way of surpassing anti-spam defenses, however they have recently stepped up their activity, using many more URLs than usual and cycling through them faster as well.” “It's a cat and mouse game where spammers try to change their URLs faster than the anti-spam companies can react,” commented Patrick Hayati, McAfee’s regional director for the Middle East. “If it takes traditional blacklists fifteen to twenty minutes to block a site, then that’s how fast the spammers need to change their URLs. Since domains cost only $6 per registration, the spammer is spending less than $100 for four hours of advertising.” As system security becomes more of an issue for users in this region and indeed around the world, McAfee is not the only company to try and raise awareness of the threats out there to own users. The firm’s competitor Sophos for instance recently announced that Windows OS users “need to wise-up” to the latest tricks that hackers are using, which can lead to a user’s PC being used to send out spam without that user’s knowledge. Sophos’s product manager, Phil Wood, commented: “Rootkits are being increasingly misused by hackers to hide a variety of criminal activities, including spyware designed to steal usernames and passwords, denial-of-service attacks, and spam campaigns. However, many users don’t appear to know what a rootkit is, and may be oblivious to the threat”. See the full recent story here.

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