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Postini Reinforces Octobers SPAM Surge Concern

Posted: 06th Nov, 2006 By: MarkJ
Postini has released its latest e-mail security statistics to the end of October, which reinforces previous reports of a surge in junk e-mail. The group found that, between September and the start of November 2006, SPAM accounted for 91% of all e-mail!:

Postini processed nearly 70 billion email connections from September to November, and saw a 59 per cent spike in spam over that period. Unwanted email is currently 91 per cent of all email, and over the past 12 months the daily volume of spam rose by 120 per cent. Postini also saw a dramatic increase in overall email traffic with 10 billion more connections in October than in September.

“This dramatic rise in spam attacks on corporate networks has the internet under a state of siege,” said Daniel Druker, executive vice president of marketing at Postini. “Spammers are increasingly aggressive and sophisticated in their techniques, and protection from spam has become a front-burner issue again. Spam has evolved from a tool for nuisance hackers and annoying marketers to one for criminal enterprises.”

Spammers now use massive networks of hijacked computers called “bot-nets” to initiate attacks. The attacks are aggressive – Postini tracks more than one million infected computers that are coordinating spam and virus attacks each day, with 50,000 or more active at any instant.

Spammers are also continuously evolving their tactics. Image spam and MS Office document spam now makes up as much as 30 per cent of all junk messages, up from two per cent in 2005. Hackers now use techniques such as re-arranging as many as 25 tiny images into a message in an HTML email or using animated GIF attachments to bypass optical character recognition technology in an effort to bypass email security systems. Infected computers are now also re-trying temporarily blocked email connections just like real mail servers do.

Postini’s PREEMPT™ multi-layer anti-virus technology also blocked over 31 million viruses for October. The stration virus, also known as warezov, was particularly active and aggressive in October. This trojan virus is designed to take over target computers, harvest email addresses and turn infected computers into spam-spewing robots.

The top five viruses for October were:

Name - Quantity Blocked
stration - 6,482,308
netsky - 5,524,450
mytob - 2,784,030
mime - 2,524,038
mydoom - 1,525,975

We’ve also noticed a spike in SPAM over the past month. Even several previously private and almost totally unused addresses with unusual names have been hit. It also seems to be the same batch of similar text/colour heavy image SPAM mails too.
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