The Spam Report, September 2009

The United Arab Emirates is one of the top five most virus-affected countries after China, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Tags: Cyber crimeSymantec CorporationUnited Arab Emirates
  • E-Mail
The Spam Report, September 2009 1 in 228 emails from the United Arab Emirates are found to contain a virus.
By  Vineetha Menon Published  September 6, 2009

The United Arab Emirates is one of the top five most virus-affected countries after China, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

According to a MessageLabs Intelligence report, 1 in every 228 emails from the UAE contains a virus but it’s much lower than China where 1 in 196 messages were identified as tainted.

From a spam perspective, the global rate still stands high at 88.5%, while Hong Kong has been named the most spammed country this month after registering a spam rate of 93.4%.  

Spammers often use subject lines such as ‘Hey’ or ‘Hi’ that can evade antispam filters but, according to Symantec, the top spam subject lines this month includes: Delivery Status Notification (Failure), Return Mail and Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender that entice recipients to find out which of their emails have bounced back.

Here in the United Arab Emirates, the spam rate decreased 10% from last month to reach a little over 85%. Security vendors are warning people to never reply to spam messages - as the sender’s email address is typically forged, replying may only result in more spam. Also avoid forwarding any virus warnings that you receive through email as these are often hoaxes.

The recent shutdown of the Real Host ISP in Latvia saw activity levels for one of the largest botnets globally fall by as much as 90%. Real Host was disconnected on August 1st after it was alleged to host command-and-control servers for infected botnet computers, particularly the Cutwail botnet which is responsible for approximately 15 to 20 percent of all spam today.  Following the disconnection, global spam volumes immediately decreased by as much as 38% in the subsequent 48-hour period. In a matter of days though, Cutwail was back to the same levels of havoc, reflecting its power in reinventing itself.

Another botnet called Donbot continues to use shortened URLs in its spam runs, peaking at distributing ten billion emails in just one day. It’s taking advantage of the heightened interest in healthcare because of the swine flu pandemic by circulating pharmaceutical-focused spam. Subjects include ‘Health care – get meds now’, ‘Save 89% on Meds’ and ‘Purchase Meds Online’.

The ongoing use of shortened-URLs as a delivery mechanism has forced a number of URL-shortening services to cease operations because of their inability to handle the malicious use of their tools.

Common trends such as Web 2.0 collaboration techniques, the ‘stickiness’ of social networking and even accessing rich media is exposing business networks to an alarming wave of online security threats.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code