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December State of Spam Report

Created: 10 Dec 2007 08:00:00 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:43:55 GMT
Kelly Conley's picture
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Here we are the end of another year. As 2007 rolls to a close the December State of Spam Report reviews this past month’s key trends and reflects on some of the year’s most notable spam events and trends.

Monitoring more than 450 million inboxes worldwide, Symantecobserved spam surge to 72% of overall email traffic in November.Spammers were also on the hunt for new email addresses, initiating amassive harvesting campaign. During a harvesting campaign spammersbombard email servers with guessed email addresses. Those that are notrejected are assumed to be valid email addresses and are added to spamlists for future attacks. Symantec estimates that it blockedapproximately 35 million of these harvesting emails.

Throughout November, Symantec also observed spam with a seasonal "hook." Some highlights include:

• Penny stocks use Thanksgiving holiday captions in subject line –spammers using common personal Thanksgiving-related words in thesubject of emails
• Replica products a favorite for spammers this holiday season –replica gear has always been a spammer favorite. Spammers are marketingtheir wares using seasonal words in the subject lines of their mailings
• Spam begins to snowball – spammers collecting email addresses byusing a funny .gif that shows a snowball hurtling at you through yourcomputer
• Christmas freebie anyone? – spammers taking advantage of the season to market "free" gift cards for well known companies
• Seasonal lotto scams - in a scam targeted at UK end users, spammershave updated a lottery spam email for a Christmas Bonanza special

This month’s report also takes a stroll down memory lane andhighlights some of the more notable spam trends of 2007. They include:

• Image spam – rapid increase, mutations, and evolution; however, itthen rolled into a steady decline, ending the year at merely a fractionof all spam seen
• Attachment spam – showed up suddenly with a rapid increase, but thenshortly thereafter entered into a steady decline, ending the year atnear invisible levels
• Pump-and-Dump stock scam spam – remains one of the top categories of spam showing continual evolution to this day
• New social engineering – current event spam topics
• Fraud and scam spam – steady increase and evolution

While spammers showed an ever increasing sophistication in evasiontechniques, those on the antispam front fought back just as hard,employing new programs, sharing information, and creating more advancedfiltering techniques.

For more trends and analyses please see the December State of Spam Report.