2009 was a year when spam, malware and other Web-based threats reached record levels, according to the third-quarter report from security vendor McAfee.
The firm’s latest Threats Report says it’s been “a fascinating year for online threats, malware of all types, and cybercrime in particular”. Fascinating maybe if you’re a security expert facing new challenges, and profitable no doubt if you’re a vendor of security software. “Web-based threats have reached new highs,” the report says. “Celebrity deaths, and news events in general, serve as lures in scams, spams, and phishing attacks. Disasters especially attract a large audience of potential victims. Fraudulent security products continue to scam unsuspecting users out of their money. Google searches lead to more and more threats.”Among the report’s key statistics:
• Spam as a percent of total email volume set a new record, reaching 92% during the quarter. Compared with last year’s third quarter, spam is up 24%.
• Thirteen million new zombies were created this quarter (zombies are compromised computers that are used by botnets to distribute spam and malware). It’s estimated an average of 148,000 new zombies were created every day this year.
• The United States remains the undisputed champion in spam production, accounting for one out of every four messages sent this quarter.
• Spammers are increasingly sending ‘spam bursts’ – multiple copies of single messages sent quickly in a bid to get as many as possible past spam defence mechanisms before service providers can shut down the attacks.
Read the full report at tinyurl.com/ygxzdf5 (Adobe Reader required).