Kaspersky Lab: Spammers Do Their Own Advertising

Aug 27, 2009

In its semi-annual spam report, the Russian security experts Kaspersky Lab have concluded the economic crisis has had no bearing on the amount of spam distributed worldwide. However, spammers have had to turn to creating ads for their very own services.

85% of all email traffic is spam. In the first half of 2009, this horribly high percentage remained stagnant. Upon closer inspection, it was revealed that .3% of these spam messages contained harmful attachments. Another .6% of all email was sent with the attempt to lure recipients onto phishing sites, which lead to a successive decline of .78%.

The Russian spam experts thus inferred that anti-phishing systems were better able to protect users from falling prey to phishing scams and for this reason made such methods of spamming unattractive to cyber crooks. PayPal remained the main target of all phishing attempts, but improved protection also deterred criminals from successfully filching customer data.

Pronounced changes have ocurred within the category of countries of origin. India, Thailand, Romania, and Poland have landed on the Top 10 list of spammers. Spain, Italy, Germany, and Ukraine are no longer among the 10 most prolific spammers. Russia and the USA have remained the top runners, but with lower numbers. Russia’s spammers sent 22% of all the mail in 2008, but had sunk to a lowly 11% in the first half of 2009. The USA went from a spam-share of 16% to a mere 10%.

The most popular category of spam mail has remained the infamous health and medicine field with 22%. An immense rise in the segment of advertising for spammer service has occured. An increase of 10% shows that spam senders have had to busy themselves with attracting customers to services. The financial hardship of late has lead spammers to lose a good chunk of their main customers, Kaspersky concluded.

That spammers would like to advertise their own products has not been proven, however. Spammer sent self-promotion is thought to be sent as graphic spam for two reasons. One reason mentioned is the fact that spam filters can be out-smarted, and the second reason given is that spammers would choose to provide more attractive ads for their own products. The report also indicates the belief that not only anti-virus specialists work in the spamming business now, but also professional design and marketing experts. The semi-annual report is to be found online.

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