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Spam drops, phishing increases

86.61% of all email messages globally were spam in October, 89.4% in September

Spam drops, phishing increases
Symantec's latest monthly report shows nearly a 3% drop in global spam.

Volumes of spam continue to drop globally, according to Symantec's October Spam and Phishing report. Spam made up 86.61% of all email messages in October, compared to 89.4% in September. This total is slightly less that the 87% total spam in November 2009.

Despite the overall drop in spam, individual countries are still suffering, the United States is now the origin for 27% of spam, up from 23% in September. Russia has seen a 2% increase in spam originating in the country, with 5% of the world's spam now coming from Russia.

As we draw towards the holiday season, spam is on the increase with leisure spam having almost doubled from 6% in September to 12% in October.

Many spam mails are offering seasonal discounts to lure in the unsuspecting customer.

Political spam also had an increase of 0.4% from September to October resulting from US elections.

Several spamming rings were recently smashed, helping to bring down the overall totals. The Zeus ring and spammit.com were squashed, as well as several servers associated with Bredolab botnet being taken down in the Netherlands.

Despite this drop in spamming, phishing remains a problem, with social media phishing increasing to 4% of the total phishing landscape, an 80% increase from September. According to Symantec, the majority of the phishing websites spoofed just two high-end brands and phishing on these brands made up nearly 98% of all phishing on social media.

The overall phishing landscape has increased by 0.3% this month due to a 41% increase in phishing toolkit websites, which can be used to create customised botnets.  

One of the most recent successful phishing scams happened in India in September, the Central Board of Direct Taxes of India extended the income tax filing deadline from September 30 to October 25 2010 because of the floods in parts of the country.

This announcement was followed by a series of phishing attacks. The spoof websites had Tax Refund as the header and asked site visitors to choose the bank where they would like their tax refund money transferred into. There was a list of 10 Indian banks on the site.

When clicked, the link directed the customer to a spoofed bank login page where they entered their login credentials. The customer was then directed back to the bank's proper website.

The servers hosing this particular scam were based in Missauga, Canada.

Twelve percent of the world's spam originates in Canada, a 1% increase from September to October.

Also seeing increases in spam traffic are Germany and Russia, with the latter now having 7% of phishing lures based in the country, a 2% increase from September.

Canada has seen a 4% increase in phishing lures while the US has cleaned up its act here and is reporting a 6% drop in phishing lures.

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