A new study is reporting a startling rise in payload spam. Over the past 3 months over 100 million spam messages with viruses attached have been blocked by spam filters, reaching levels last seen in 2007 when the massive Storm botnet was on the scene. 55% of the virus laden spam was fake IRS notices and another 33% were fake UPS shipping notifications. Such spams, targeted at businesses, have become an increasing problem lately.
Experts say the spike can be attributed to efforts by hackers to reseed their botnets, which have suffered some in the wake of the McColo and 3FN shutdowns. When 3FN was shut down, spam levels dropped 30% but quickly rebounded.
Even though only a miniscule amount of virus laden spam ever makes it to inboxes and still fewer actually deliver their payloads, it’s enough to add thousands of computers to botnets each day.
The report also found that thanks to a resurgence in image spam, the overall size of spam messages has increased by 123%. Overall spam levels however have remained steady with an average of 90% of all emails sent being spam.
Source: Sue Walsh October 2009