The Spam Report, July 2008

Read the July Spam Report

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  July 2, 2008

There's so much going on in the world today and no one knows this better than spammers. Despite the fact that antispam filters are getting more sophisticated with each passing day, the techniques adopted by savvy spammers are also evolving.

According to Symantec's latest spam report, the Europe, Middle East and Africa region accounted for close to 45% of all global spam messages. Product emails offering recipients the best deals on clothes, cosmetics, handbags and other goods and services remains the biggest category, accounting for 22% of global spam.

Emails offering financial, internet and health-related goods and services were close behind at 19%, 18% and 17% respectively.

It's also reported that spammers are now forcing their way through by hacking into personal email accounts to scam user contacts, which has become a growing concern.

It starts with the hacker gaining illegal entry into an account and then sending an email requesting urgent assistance to everyone on the user's personal contact list. At first glance, the email seems genuine as it also contains the original auto-signature. By the time users find out about the spam attack, it's usually too late as the hacker would have modified critical account details such as the password and secret question.

For this reason, it's advisable to invest the time and thought into creating strong passwords for all your email accounts. Also, be wary of ‘account expiry' notifications that advise users to provide account details unwittingly to a third party.

What would you do if your email subject line read: ‘Latest! Obama quits presidential race' or ‘Pyramids in Egypt rocked by earthquake'? The classic spamming technique of sending bogus news headlines as subject lines to entice recipients to open messages is still common as users continue to give in to their curiosity. Recipients access the link provided in the email to learn more but instead find that they're directed to a spam website.

As anticipation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics grows, message scams claiming to originate from the Beijing Olympic Committee have already been observed. Emails claiming to declare the winners of an Olympic promotion lottery are being sent to recipients with instructions to open the enclosed attachment for further details.

The attachment informs them that they've won the lottery and are requested to contact a courier company through email with personal details in order to claim the prize. As the Olympics draw closer, it's expected that more fraudulent messages will emerge.

As more end users in the EMEA region get broadband access the shift in spam messages is evident. The rise in spam levels shows no signs of dissipating and is, in fact, increasing at a significant rate with reports that it has climbed from 56% to its present state of 80% of all email in just two years.

3938 days ago
Prramhod Shetty

Good article on Spam. Information like increase in Spam from 56% to 81 % from last 2 years is eye opener for Middle East enterprises. I am driving the vision of Google in the region and promoting Cloud computing concept, my personal experience meeting most of the customers in the region (SME-SMB-Enterprise-Govt) is that best of in-house solution is not able to deliver protection against Virus and Spam and nobody signs an SLA towards the offered solution, customers need to buy the solution and keep updating and upgrading the software and infrastructure to manage their network. Software as-a-service from Google allows customers to enjoy the benefit of signing the SLA (Service Level Agreement) for 100% virus protection, 98% Spam protection and 99.999% service availability with many more essential features without buying any software or hardware because the solution is offered as-a-service. I am sure you will keep updating the market with latest internet threats in future.

3939 days ago

Would like to hear about the readerships use of greylisting and opinions for and against its use.

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