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Security Response

Dramatic Spike in the Number of Email Messages Containing Malware

Created: 06 Oct 2008 19:14:26 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:39:37 GMT
Kelly Conley's picture
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The trend of spam messages containing URL links to malicious code and/or carrying malicious payloads has dramatically spiked since May of this year. This trend is the focus of our October State of Spam Report, issued today. From June to mid September, the amount of malicious code detected in scanned email messages increased from a tenth of a percent (0.1%) in June to 1.2 % in the middle of September. Now, that doesn’t sound like much, but consider that this represents a 12x increase! The top ten of definitions detected by antivirus rules for this period were led by generic Trojan, Downloader, and Infostealer definitions—making up more than 30% of the malicious code detected.

Also noted in this month’s State of Spam Report is the increase in zombie activity. The report notes that while zombie activity decreased from July to August, it increased more than 100% between August and September. For this period, the EMEA region was the leading source of all zombie IP addresses. Countries showing the highest increase in the number of zombies include South Korea, Kazakhstan, Romania, and Saudi Arabia, among others. Not surprisingly, countries with the big increase in zombies also figured in the top five countries by spam sent. However, the United States still leads overall in spam sent.

To read about these or other trends in the report, such as messages leveraging current events (for example, the US presidential race and the US economic concerns), please visit the State of Spam website and the October State of Spam Report.