NEW YORK, NY and LONDON--(October 30, 2007 - www.AllPayNnews.com ) - MessageLabs, the leading provider of messaging and web security services to businesses worldwide, today announced the results of its MessageLabs Intelligence Report for October 2007. The new data reveals that spammers have introduced MP3 music files into the expanding toolbox of stock spam techniques, with 15 million emails shaping the first spam run. Use of MP3 files is the latest tactic designed to sneak messages past spam filters and ultimately control the value of stock for nefarious reasons.
On October 17, MessageLabs intercepted the first copies of an estimated 15 million email spam run which lasted 36 hours and used StormWorm-infected computers to disseminate the emails. Purporting to be a legitimate music file, the MP3 file names were all music-related such as beatles.mp3, Britney.mp3 and elvis.mp3, and contained a rusty-sounding, 25-second voice-over touting the latest stock offering from Exit Only Incorporated. The voice was synthesized using a very low compression rate of 16 kHz to keep the overall file size small, at around 50 KB, to avoid detection.
Over recent months, spammers have been toying with different types of file attachments including text, html, image, ZIP, RAR, RTF and PDFs. Analysis of the MP3 spam suggests that this was the work of the cyber criminals responsible for sending out PDF spam in early October, highlighting the frequent interchanging of tools being used.
"The MP3 spam tactic is a natural progression for cyber criminals following runs of image, PDF and Excel junk mail earlier this year," said Mark Sunner, chief security analyst for MessageLabs. "As users become wary of certain file attachments, scammers will move on to their next tactic, ever hopeful of finding the key which will easily open all inboxes rather than having the door slammed in their face by anti-spam filters. Video spam and PowerPoint are both well anticipated so watch this space for the next format du jour."
This recent trend proves that spamming techniques are becoming more innovative. As image spam shifts from email attachments to images on free image-hosting sites, MessageLabs experts believe that it is only a matter of time before the spammers apply the same approach to audio spam and upload the message to free multimedia hosting sites such as YouTube, Google Video, MySpace or any number of sites competing in this new media market.
Other report highlights:
Web Security: Analysis shows that 45.9 percent of all web-based malware intercepted was new in October. MessageLabs identified approximately 1,100 new sites per day which harbored malware, an increase of 63 percent compared to September levels. Gambling sites appeared back in the top ten of policy-based filtering triggers and rose to fourth place for large enterprises.
Spam: In October, the global ratio of spam in email traffic from new and unknown bad sources, for which the recipient addresses were deemed valid, was 74.5 percent (1 in 1.34 emails), an increase of 1.0 percent on the previous month.
Viruses: This month, the global ratio of email-born viruses in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources destined for valid recipients was 1 in 161.5 emails (0.62 percent) in October, a decrease of 1.43 percent since the previous month. This decline is almost certainly linked with the fall in the number of StormWorm-related emails, particularly active in August and September. This takes the email virus rate to the lowest level since April 2007 when virus traffic accounted for 1 in 145.5 emails.
Phishing: October saw a decrease of 0.57 percent in the proportion of phishing attacks with one in 174.0 emails comprised of some form of phishing attack. Viewed as a proportion of all email-borne threats such as viruses and trojans, the number of phishing emails has risen by 36.8 percent to 92.8 percent of the malware threats intercepted in October, the highest level on record.
-- Israel continued to have the highest spam rate this month with 77.1
percent; however, the sharpest increase in spam this month amon