Current events reign as popular spam messaging

Most spam messages last month played on consumers’ economic fears or concern for victims of disasters abroad, according to Symantec’s monthly State of Spam report.

In the June 2008 report, Symantec found that spam messages accounted for more than 80% of e-mail messages. Many of these messages focused on current events including the disasters in Asia, the weak US economy and the IRS stimulus packages.

“Nearly every single spammer’s objectives are delivering spam to users’ inboxes, getting users to view the messages and finally getting users to navigate to a site,” said David Cowings, senior manager of operations for Symantec Security Response. “This could also increase the viewing of spam e-mail if the users search for hot topics that could return some of these spam messages.”

Despite the fact that consumers are becoming more educated about spam and managing their inboxes, these popular topics, which have been used often in the last year for malware, are still leading to click throughs.

Spam can carry or lead individuals to infect their systems with malware, send money through click-through payments, fraudulently release personal information or simply try to free people of your money by selling products, said Cowings.

“The use of hot topics also limits the filtering capabilities of anti-spam products that are heavily reliant upon content scanning, as this could lead to false positives,” Cowings added.

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