Application security

Image spam triples in three months

Ever-resourceful spammers tripled the amount of image spam sent to users in the last three months, researchers announced today.

Increasingly spammers are taking advantage in the weaknesses of traditional content filtering mechanisms by sending spam messages that have little to no text content, instead spreading messages embedded into images, said Paul Judge, chief technology officer for CipherTrust.

According to researchers at CipherTrust, 30 percent of all spam sent today is image spam.

Judge reported that the company has tracked a sudden surge in the amount of image-based spam in recent months. In May of 2005, image spam only made up 3 percent of all spam messages sent. By May of this year it had edged slowly up to 10 percent. It has only been a couple of months, but now the market is deluged as nearly one in every three spam is image-based.

Considering that spam makes up 80 percent of all messages sent, nearly one in every four messages sent is image spam, Judge said.

He believes that the recent flood of image spam stems from the fact that this type of message is getting through to end users.

"It is a very significant trend," Judge said. "Certainly the reason spammers do this is because somewhere in the world they are having more success with these messages. You see the speed to which they move to this and realize that they have significant advantage over the technologies in general that are deployed in the world."

Judge said that CipherTrust hopes to combat the tide of new image spam with enhancements to its TrustedSource reputation engine, which the company announced today.

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