Kaspersky Lab has published its spam report for April 2011 and compared to the previous month, the amount of spam in e-mail traffic increased by 1.2 % points and averaged 80.8%. In the second half of April, the average figure exceeded 83.6%, suggesting the share of unsolicited mail will continue to grow in the coming month.
In April, phishers seemed to lose interest in eBay with almost half as many of its users being attacked compared to the previous month. The subsequent drop of 4.2 percentage points saw eBay fall two places to 4th in the Top 10 rating of organisations most often targeted in phishing attacks. PayPal was the undisputed leader of April’s rating. However, the intensity of the attacks on this e-pay system has eased off slightly, with a drop of 6 percentage points compared to March. Facebook and Santander moved up to 2nd and 3rd respectively, though the number of attacks on these organisations only increased slightly compared with March.
Spam in the spotlight
As expected at this time of year, spammers exploited Easter to attract more attention to their mass mailings. The sheer variety of Easter-themed spam messages was striking ‚ from special weight loss offers to tablets for enhancing sexual potency. Mother’s Day, which is celebrated in many countries in early May, was reflected in numerous adverts for flowers and gifts, while the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was accompanied with offers for souvenirs that included exact replicas of Kate’s engagement ring. Fortunately, the surge in malicious spam exploiting the ‚wedding of the year‚ theme that was predicted by antivirus vendors didn’t materialise.
Sources of spam
In April, India and Brazil remained the most popular sources of spam, accounting for 12.76% and 7.15% of the total volume of spam respectively. Russia continued its slide down the rating of most popular spam sources, being overtaken by South Korea whose contribution to global spam almost doubled compared with March’s figure.
Malware in mail traffic
Of particular interest in April was the appearance of Packed.Win32.Katusha.n and Trojan-Downloader.Win32.FraudLoad.hxv in the rating of malicious programs blocked by mail antivirus. Both malicious programs are linked to fake AV: the former is used to pack them while the latter downloads them to users’ computers. In April, malicious files were found in 3.65% of all emails, an increase of 0.43% points compared with the previous month. The USA, Russia and the UK continued to occupy the top three places in the list of countries where malware was detected most frequently in mail traffic. There was an increase of 1.93% points recorded in the USA, but the figure for Russia decreased by 2.9 % points compared to March.
The first ever case of spam driving someone mad was reported in the USA in April. New York resident Jeremy Clancy, 28, was so angry with the amount of spam he was receiving in his mail box and on his social network pages that he decided to hunt down his tormentors. Over the period of a week he tracked down 23 people whom he suspected of distributing unsolicited correspondence and in the evenings cut the Internet cables at their houses. On his eighth outing he was apprehended by the police. It was later disclosed that Clancy was suffering from a mental disorder