Spammers change tactics again

Spam levels remain steady during February (2008), accounting for 96.47 per cent of all email scanned by SoftScan. However, the security services firm reports subtle subsequent changes to the delivery and format of 'bulk mail' spam, which may indicate that spam levels will go up again soon.

Spam levels remain steady during February (2008), accounting for 96.47 per cent of all email scanned by SoftScan. However, the security services firm reports subtle subsequent changes to the delivery and format of 'bulk mail' spam, which may indicate that spam levels will go up again soon.

The change is in messages sent out in vast quantities apparently by the same few providers. Similarities observed in the past in the technical make-up of the messages lead SoftScan to conclude that these messages are written on templates designed specifically to have maximum effect on bypassing anti-spam filters.

"A change in the template indicates that the spammers are trying out new tactics, which is normally a precursor to a larger blitz of spam ̵1; but it's too early yet to be absolutely certain," explains Diego d'Ambra, CTO of SoftScan. "Junk mail from these few providers seems to come in waves and from the distribution you can see that there are some very successful spammers that cover a large part of the market."

In addition, d'Ambra says he has also seen a change in the delivery of these messages: "This may mean that the botnets have been recruiting significant numbers of new zombies or that the spammers are trying to find new ways to bypass blacklist technology," he says.

Virus levels remained typically low during the month accounting for just 0.09 per cent of all email scanned. According to SoftScan, the top five virus families in February 2008 were:

  1. phishing: 85.92 per cent
  2. dropper: 7.07 per cent
  3. diehard: 2.14 per cent
  4. netsky: 1.37 per cent
  5. downloader: 0.97 per cent

www.SoftScan.com

Image: SoftScan CTO Diego d'Ambra: spammers are trying to find new ways to bypass blacklist technology

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