Holidays rang in the spam: Commtouch report

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Holiday spam spanned from Halloween to New Year's, according to spam filtering firm Commtouch's 2007 Q4 Email Threats Trend Report.

Spammers took advantage of holiday cheer to take advantage of consumers' inboxes. Halloween included a blended-threat campaign, with a “dancing skeleton” subject line, that delivered users to a malicious Web site that infected them with malware. A Thanksgiving spam outbreak was sent with subject lines offering dates and diets, and Christmas delivered a holiday-themed, blended-threat e-mail including a link to a site that attempted to download new variants of the Storm malware.

The report, which examines recent trends in e-mail threats such as zombie botnets, spam, malware, phishing and distributed denial of service attacks based on the automated analysis of billions of e-mail messages weekly, also found that global spam levels remain high, with spam reaching 96% of all e-mail at its peak during 2007 Q4.

The Storm Worm botnet, a new botnet from a global network of PCs infected with malware that gives the botmaster remote control, was responsible for many outbreaks in Q4 including MP3 spam. The MP3 spam featured an audio stock pump-and-dump message that was distributed as an .mp3 e-mail attachment. During outbreak peaks, MP3 spam accounted for 7% to 10% of all global spam.

The report also found that 70% of spam messages at the end of Q4 featured sexual enhancement products.


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