April State of Spam Report
The April State of Spam Report is out today and its findings show that spam levels bounced even higher, averaging 81 percent of all email in March and peaking at all-time highs of nearly 88 percent. “Bounce” being the operative word, because the new report highlights a marked increase in bounced message spam observed by Symantec. With these particular attacks in March, spammers took advantage of mail transfer agent (MTA) programs by utilizing the practice of backscatter to bounce massive volumes of emails to unsuspecting end users. The majority of the bounces observed were Russian language messages, containing images and text that change regularly, often a few times per day.
Spammers take advantage of MTA programs, which can be configured to send back not only a list of failed recipient addresses and an explanation why each address failed, but also a copy of the original message in its entirety. This practice allows spammers to bounce messages around the Internet, gaining wide visibility. More information about these email attacks, including a sample message, can be seen in the State of Spam Report.
In addition to bouncing spam, other highlights in this month’s report include:
- EMEA Spammers Get Social. Spammers in select EMEA regions have been heavily promoting social networking sites trying to lure the unsuspecting to supposed "friend" pages.
- Spammers Offer Virus, Not Tax Day Refund. Symantec has observed an increase in malicious spam messages spoofing the IRS, or popular programs like TurboTax.
- Attachment Spam Makes a Weak Attempt at Comeback. Spammers reverted back to the tactic of using attachments—zip files in this particular case.
- 419 Spammers Aim for 2010 South African World Cup. In the latest twist on the infamous 419 Nigerian Spam Scam, spammers are now informing recipients they’ve won $2 million in promotion of the 2010 South African World Cup.
Details on spam level and their countries of origin are also available in this month’s report. For more information on the April report or for additional resources on the state of spam, please visit Symantec’s State of Spam site.