Application security, Threat Management, Incident Response, Malware, TDR

Spam volume reaches new all-time high at 92 percent

Spam volumes continue to skyrocket, and have now reached a new all-time high, according to McAfee's threat report for the third quarter of 2009, released Monday.

During the third quarter of the year, spam accounted for 92 percent of all email on average, which breaks the previous record-high volume, 91 percent, set during the second quarter of 2009, McAfee said. Compared to the third quarter of 2008, spam is up 24 percent.

“We can hope that spam will take some time off next quarter for the upcoming holiday period,” the report states. “This is unlikely, however, as the fourth quarter typically sets new annual highs.”

This was not the case during the last quarter of 2008, however, due to the McColo ISP shutdown, which caused spam volumes to take a drastic nosedive, the report states.

Prescription drugs were the most popular subjects of spam messages during the third quarter of 2009, followed by fake delivery service notifications. Other popular spam topics included advertisements to earn a diploma online and for weight-loss products. Also, during the quarter, spammers frequently used the tactic of spoofing federal government agencies to make spam appear legitimate and to propagate malware, the report concluded.

More than 60 percent of all spam sent during the quarter originated from just 10 countries, the report states. The United States was the leader in spam production, with one out of every four spam messages originating here and Brazil followed, with 12 percent of all spam originating there. The other predominate countries where spam originated from include India, Poland, South Korea, Venezuela, Turkey, Argentina, Columbia and Russia, the report states.

This is the first time Venezuela and Argentina have been on list of top spam-sending countries, according to the report.

Malware also is growing, the report found.

“We have already surpassed 2008 in total malware growth and we still have three months left of the year,” the report states.

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