A recent Kaspersky report has revealed that spam increased 13 percentage points during February and averaged 71% for the month. This makes it higher than January of this year and the last three months of 2012.
After a lull of several months’, spammers stepped up their activity in February. According to Kaspersky Lab data, the proportion of spam in email traffic grew by nearly 13 percentage points and averaged 71% for the month, higher than the average for January and the last three months of 2012.
Italy was the country targeted most by malicious emails in February. The country’s share of mail antivirus detections grew by 9.4 percentage points and averaged 14.4%, pushing long-term leader the US into 2nd place.
Fake notifications from different financial organisations remain one of the most popular tools for distributing malware via email. This trick was especially popular in Italy where the spammers most often utilised Trojan-Banker.HTML.Agent.p which came 2nd in February’s Top 10 malicious programmes spread via email. This Trojan appears in the form of a HTML page imitating registration forms of well-known banks or e-pay systems which are used by phishers to steal users’ credentials for online banking systems.
One company name that is especially popular with the fraudsters is Google. In February, they launched a mass mailing that included the Google name notifying users that their resume was under consideration. To avoid any confusion, the recipient was encouraged to open the attached file to check their resume was correct. The attachment was a zip archive containing malware designed to steal passwords and other confidential data on the user’s computer.
There were major shifts in the geographical distribution of spam flows. In February, South Korea was the main source of spam sent to European users: the volume of junk email originating from that country grew 27.7 percentage points and averaged 50.9%. Last month’s leader China (3%) fell to 6th place in February with a considerable drop of 36.6 percentage points. Such significant changes in the share of spam produced by these two countries may be due to the fact that a group of spammers started distributing from a different botnet.
In February, the US topped the rating of the leading sources of spam worldwide. The amount of spam sent from China halved resulting in a drop to second place. As was the case in January, South Korea came third.
‚”Such a dramatic increase in the amount of spam in February hardly marks the beginning of a new trend. It was most probably caused by a decline in the share of junk email during the January holidays when many of the computers used in botnets to distribute spam were turned off. Moreover, the proportion of unsolicited messages in February was still slightly lower when compared with the average for the whole of 2012. In any case, we don’t expect any more dramatic changes in the near future,‚” said Darya Gudkova, Head of Content Analysis & Research, Kaspersky Lab. ‚”Of special concern right now is the fact that the majority of malicious attachments in spam are programmes designed to steal users’ credentials for online banking systems. They appear in the form of HTML pages imitating registration forms. Users should be especially careful with such emails and the attachments should not be opened: online banking pages should only be accessed via a browser.‚”
Telcos want one face
The investments that telecommunications service providers are making in reshaping their online properties into customer-centric portals reflects the growing maturity of self-service and Internet uptake in the industry, says KEVIN MELTZER of Consology.
Many telcos around the world are overhauling their websites to offer customers more holistic portals that give them a single point of entry into the organisation.
They are doing so because they recognise that service will be a key point of differentiation for their businesses in a market that is becoming increasingly competitive. They have also realised that they have a major opportunity to shift customers away from expensive contact centres towards low-cost electronic channels.
In the past, most telecommunications operators ran multiple sites across multiple domains and subdomains. These web-based properties were built around the way that telcos structured their own businesses rather than around the needs of the customer. But we are now seeing the leading operators take a more user-centric approach to the way that they design their web and mobile sites.
This coincides with a change in the industry from slicing customers into numerous segments and then serving them across a range of functional and product areas. For example, many operators split customers into prepaid and postpaid segments or voice and data users, distinctions that are becoming less meaningful in a world of technology convergence. They now want to present a single face to the customer rather than servicing the subscriber through silos.
These changes are starting to percolate through to operators’ customer service and sales strategies. Telcos are starting to pull together disparate products and services that once resided across multiple sites into customer service portals.
These sites put a wide range of information at the subscriber’s fingertips, he adds. Increasingly, for example, subscribers can log directly into their accounts from the operator’s homepage and then access a wealth of services and information. This marks an evolution from the fractured and inconsistent customer experience of the past.
Leading operators are even thinking about how their Self-Service platforms should be integrated with social media strategies to allow customers to pay their electronic bills or top up airtime with a single click from within a social network.
Whereas Self-Service portals on telco sites were once purely about account management functions, they increasingly offer far richer functionality. In addition to allowing subscribers to pay their bills and check their account information, they are also increasingly becoming the first stop for service and commerce.
Operators have started to recognise that splintering their e-commerce, service and account management functions simply makes no sense. Customers want to be able to do everything through one interface rather than needing to visit two or three Web sites, or eventually possibly needing to phone a call centre or visit a store for certain transactions.
Integrated and easy to use online customer service channels will be central for telco operators who want to be competitive in the markets of tomorrow. They form an advantage in an industry where it will be customer relationships rather than cost or service that drive loyalty and purchasing decisions.
Talk for less with MWEB Talk
Today, MWEB announced its consumer VoIP package called MWEB Talk, which allows users to make free network calls and get discounted rates made to landlines and mobile phones.
MWEB, today launched its new Voice over IP (VoIP) offering to South African consumers. The service, MWEB Talk, will offer users’ free on network calls to fellow MWEB Talk users’ and cheap calls to landline and mobile phone numbers. This follows the success and demand of the ISP’s existing VoIP products in recent months.
‚”We have seen a noticeable transformation in users’ Internet behaviour with consumers wanting services that complement their ADSL connectivity solution. We have seen phenomenal growth and by the end of the year will deliver over 100 million minutes on our VoIP platform,‚” says Carolyn Holgate, General Manager of MWEB Connect, the ISP’s Consumer and Small Office/ Home Office Division.
MWEB has made significant investments in its infrastructure and VoIP has been prioritised on its network to ensure performance and stability of the MWEB Talk service for both businesses and consumers.
‚”In addition to the high quality of the service, MWEB Talk is also simple to set-up and users’ should experience a significant reduction in their telephone bills. By implementing a VoIP service consumers and small businesses can cut their monthly telecommunication bills by up to 55% to landline and mobile numbers,‚” says Holgate.
With no subscription fee, existing MWEB customers can log into their MWEB account, register for the service and download the application for PC and Mac as well as mobile applications that turn an iPhone, Android, and Nokia smartphone into a VoIP phone. Customers will also be able to purchase a Desktop VoIP Handset for R99 which will be HD voice ready and will support multi-extensions.
‚”We believe that VoIP is the future of telephony in South Africa and we are extremely excited to see the consumer market shift into the VoIP space,‚” concludes Holgate.