Application security, Malware, Vulnerability Management

Engineering, automotive sectors commonly spammed

Organizations in the engineering, automotive and accommodation sectors receive the most spam, according to a report released Wednesday by Symantec Hosted Services.

With spam accounting for 94.1 percent of all email received, engineering organizations top the charts as the most spammed industry, according to Symantec's annual MessageLabs Intelligence Special Report. The second most spammed industry was automotive, followed by accommodation and catering, with 92.9 percent and 90.5 percent of all email identified as spam, respectively. The least spammed sectors are business support services, general services and finance, each with spam rates around 87 percent.

Across the board, small to midsize businesses (SMBs) receive more spam than large enterprises, according to the report. Areas with large populations of SMBs received the greatest proportion of spam, and the least spammed areas are home to many of the largest companies.

Idaho, Alabama and South Carolina top the chart as the most spammed states, each with more than 93 percent spam rates. The least spammed U.S. states and territories were Puerto Rico, Montana and Louisiana. The national average spam rate is 89.3 percent.

“Spam isn't just a simple annoyance to businesses, but a real threat that can consume resources and put valuable information at risk regardless of location,” Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence senior analyst said in a statement. “From the World Cup to fake PDF Reader updates, even the most intricate scams are now widespread and the sheer size and power of today's botnets are making possible what was once unthinkable.”

Ninety percent of the estimated 120 billion spam messages distributed per day are relayed by five to six million computers that have been compromised by cybercriminals, the report states. 

Meanwhile, the United States is the number one spam-relaying nation, outputting 15.2 percent of all global spam messages, according to a separate report released on Wednesday by anti-virus firm Sophos. The Sophos report, which covers the second quarter of 2010, states that India was the second largest spamming country, followed by Brazil, the U.K. and South Korea. Compared to the first quarter of the year, there was a significant increase in the amount of spam relayed by both the U.S. and the U.K.

“Financially motivated criminals are controlling compromised zombie computers to not just launch spam campaigns, but also steal identity and bank account information,” Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos said in a statement.  “It's an uphill struggle educating users about the dangers of clicking on links or attachments in spam.”

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