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Oman is most spammed country for April

Symantec’s MessageLabs report shows cyber-attacks on the increase

Oman is most spammed country for April
Oman has become the most spammed country in the world for April 2011.

Oman has become the most spammed country globally this April, according to Symantec's April 2011 MessageLabs Intelligence Report. The report also shows that targeted cyber-attacks, which were intercepted by Symantec.cloud, has risen to 85 attacks per day, the highest figure since March 2009 when attacks reached the level of 107 per day in the run up to the G20 summit.

The report also revealed that Global spam levels continued to fall in the wake of the Rustock botnet take-down. Spam levels decreased by 6.4 percentage points since March to reach 72.9% in April.

MessageLabs Intelligence showed that shortened URLs are becoming more and more popular as a method to lure people into clicking on advertising links, in a practice known as click fraud.

During April, MessageLabs found 11 automated bots posting shortened URLs on a popular micro-blogging site. People clicking on these links were redirected to websites containing advertising links, which in turn will generate pay-per-click revenue for those sites hosting the banner ads.

During April, one in every 168.6 emails contained malware and targeted attacks accounted for 0.02% of these. This figure represents a 10.5% increase in malware over a six month period from 77 attacks in October 2010.

"The trend in targeted attacks suggests there may be a seasonal pattern as the number of targeted attacks always seems to be higher at this time of year," said Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence senior analyst, Symantec.cloud. "As the financial year draws to a close in many countries, it is also possible that the timing is perfect for cybercriminals seeking information about the financial performance of a company, and a carefully crafted attack may be just the means by which they can achieve this. There are a number of motivations behind enticing users to follow shortened URLs, the primary one being financial gain," Wood said. "Although online advertising providers have worked hard to prevent Web sites from being setup purely to profit from advertising revenues, the practice is still prevalent."

According to the report, the most frequently blocked malware targeting endpoint devices for the last month was the W32.Sality.AE virus, which spreads by infecting executable files and attempts to download potentially malicious files from the internet.

MessageLabs analysis of web security activity shows a decrease in websites harbouring malware, with two websites per day showing infection, a decrease of 18.2% since March 2011.

In total 33% of malicious domains blocked were new sites in April, a decrease of 4.0 percentage points since March. Twenty-two point five percent of all web-based malware blocked in April was also new.

The automotive sector continues to be the most spammed industry sector with a spam rate of 76.5%, followed by the education sector at 74%, 72.8% for chemical and pharmaceutical and 72.5 for IT services.

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