The Spam Report, September 2008

Read an overview of the latest spam techniques and trends

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  September 9, 2008

Spammers have reached new levels of depravity by sending fake suicide notes and threats to parents stating their child has been kidnapped.

This shocking trend along with several others was reported in a recent Symantec spam report. According to the report, attacks related to the internet (27%), products (20%), health (17%) and finance (17%) were identified as the biggest spam categories.

In the latest trend, unsuspecting parents receive an email that claims their child has been kidnapped. A ransom is even demanded from the family in order to secure the child’s safe return. The email contains an attachment that’s supposed to be a photograph of the kidnapped child, but holds the malware code instead.

Another spamming trend that’s been observed involves inviting users to download a free version of Internet Explorer 7, riding the buzz surrounding Microsoft’s recent IE 8 beta release. The spam message contains a dotted quad URL, which alters the address of the URL, as well as a Trojan loaded .exe attachment.

Cashing in on the holiday season, spammers are now using airline e-tickets as a method to reach their victims. A spam message from a bogus company thanks the recipient for using their services and informs them that the attachment is the purchase invoice and flight ticket. Once opened, the .zip file format attachment results in the Trojan horse ‘Infostealer.Monstress’ being executed.

There’s also been a dramatic rise in spam pretending to be genuine correspondence from recruiters, requesting recipients to follow a link to apply for a part time job. People are advised to be wary of filling in application forms that might result in additional spam attacks and further malware infection.

While spammers continue to use world news events and the US presidential race to entice victims, not even the most gullible would have been fooled by recent reported messages with the subject: McCain Chooses Paris Hilton as Running Mate.

Though spammers are finding new ways to push malware, overall levels remained the same with spam accounting for 80% of all emails last month.

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