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Showing posts tagged with Spam
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Dave Cole | 11 Apr 2007 07:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

Alright, I’ll fess up: spam has never been just for email, in spite of our cluttered inboxes that loudly protest to the contrary. Spam’s early commercial origins point back to a message to 6,000 recipients on Usenet by a couple of immigration attorneys named Canter & Siegel from Phoenix, Arizona back in 1994 who were promoting their services to enroll people in the national green card lottery. From these roots, spam moved on to its dominant format today: email. Nonetheless, the flood of SMTP-based spam we see today may obscure the other flavors of spam that have popped up, including IM spam, SMS spam, and the Web 2.0 buzzword-friendly “splog”.

I’ll spare you all the gory details on IM and SMS spam, they’re pretty straightforward. IM spam has yet to reach major proportions, but it’s certainly out there, plugging spy software, ringtones, and other services. SMS spam has been highly visible overseas since 2001, especially in Asia where SMS has been used heavily for some...

Kelly Conley | 10 Apr 2007 07:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

The Symantec “State of Spam” report for April 2007 is now online. This month’s report includes a spotlight on spam trends in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. One of the highlights is a discussion on the categories of spam detected in EMEA. I found this particularly interesting because there were some marked differences between worldwide spam and EMEA-specific spam. The most notable instances were the financial and scam categories.

Whereas spam related to financial goods and services accounted for 20 percent of worldwide spam, it accounted for 31 percent of spam detected in EMEA. Spam messages detected in the EMEA region that were categorized as scams were double the number reported worldwide. While only six percent of all messages globally were scams, 12 percent of spam in EMEA included scam messages...

Christopher Covert | 09 Apr 2007 07:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

Webmail has become ubiquitous - most people have at least one account and some people use several. As the folks at Google pointed out this April Fool’s Day, we’ve gotten to the point where the idea of relying on postal mail for communication is almost completely absurd. Services like Google’s Gmail, Microsoft’s Hotmail, and Yahoo! Mail all offer an incredibly large amount of storage and can be accessed from almost any internet-connected machine.

This weekend I got an email from a friend, arriving from her Hotmail address. It was actually an auto-generated invitation link to a social networking service called ‘Tagged’. Tagged is employing some very sketchy tactics in expanding their user base. While the whole idea behind Web 2.0 is the combination of existing Web services/technologies to make them more useful, when a user signs up for Tagged, they’re practically forced to put in...

Symantec Security Response | 26 Mar 2007 07:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

Twice a year, Symantec produces the Internet Security Threat Report, a comprehensive report outlining the major trends in Internet security over the previous six-month period. One security concern that is of interest to many people is the growth of spam and spam-related issues. Symantec monitors the source and volume of spam from around the world and uses this information to discuss the major trends in the spam-related landscape.

One trend that has been relatively steady is the largest country of origin for spam messages. In the second half of 2006, around nine out of 20 spam messages were sent from the United States. This highlights that although some other countries are gaining notoriety for being spam havens, the United States is still the number one spam distributor in the world. In fact, spam from the United States outnumbers spam from the second closest country, China, at a rate of seven to one. So although countries like China, Russia, and Brazil are touted...

Kelly Conley | 14 Mar 2007 07:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

Replica watches are all the rage these days. It seems with all the spam that I’ve seen lately about replica watches, they are the "must have" of the season. Come get your replica watch at hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars off the retail price of the authentic version!

Replica watches are not a new thing. No, they have been hawked on the Internet and streets of major cities for a long, long time. What we at Symantec have recently been seeing, is wave after wave of email spam regarding replica watches over the past few days. Most of these attacks have been high in volume.

What specifically are theses spammers hawking? Replicas of Rolex, Cartier, Breitling, Omega, Hermes, and many other top brands. When you click on the link provided in the spam emails, the intent of the spammers becomes obvious as you are taken to Web sites with large pictures of the wares that they are trying to sell. Every time I open a link to a replica site, I can almost hear the...

Josh Harriman | 09 Mar 2007 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

No, this is not a new Monty Python skit. This is a real operation and is being implemented right now by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Operation Spamalot has halted trading in 35 companies. Their reason is basically that information regarding these companies have been spammed out through email to millions of people touting false or misleading information in order to drive up stock prices. We in Security Response have spoken of this phenomenon before in a couple of recent blogs, Spam and Stock Speculation and Trojan.Peacomm Part 2.

But now, the SEC has stepped in and is trying to put a stop to this...

Kelly Conley | 13 Feb 2007 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

It seems like only yesterday I was blogging about a new spam report that Symantec Messaging and the Web Security team have published regarding the state of spam. Now, the February report is online, which gives a good overview of spam activity in January of 2007.

This issue highlights several interesting trends. While spam continues to be a high percentage of all email, there was a slight reduction of spam in January to approximately 69 percent. The technique du jour, image spam, reached a high in January, but ended the month around 30 percent. It's amazing to think that 30 percent of the total spam volume is image spam. We look at it every day, and still it continues to arrive, most notably in emails for penny stock and fake Rolex.

Have you noticed a decline in adult-oriented email lately? So have we. Once consistently in the top categories of...

Kelly Conley | 08 Feb 2007 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

I just received a legitimate e-newsletter from a science gadget company. I'm reading along about robotic arms and hands and the use of these objects in operating rooms. I'm immersed in this email. It's pretty interesting stuff. To imagine the steps that we've made with science and technology in the past 50 years or less, is truly mind boggling. Then I get to the end. Or not.

There it is. A URL. Why is it there and where does it lead? It must have something to do with scientific gadgets. Does it take me back to the main Web site? Does it take me to another reference of robotic use in operating rooms? It isn’t the opt-out, because that URL is just above this one.

I click and it doesn't take me anywhere that I would have guessed. In fact, it is not related to science or technology at all. The URL takes me to an adult-related meds site. What is the correlation? Is there supposed to be one between readers of science newsletters and viagra? I have no idea what the...

Kelly Conley | 26 Jan 2007 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

The Symantec Messaging and Web Security team started off 2007 with the release of a new monthly report geared towards the media. This report, entitled The State of Spam: A Monthly Report was released last week, covers December 2006, and can be found here.

Do you want to know what the top spam type for last month was? Or how about what new techniques spammers are currently using? Did you see some unusual spam in your Inbox? Check out our report and see if it's a new trend. People interested in what’s going on in the ever-changing world of spam will want to get their hands on a copy of this report for the metrics, latest trends, new spam examples, and data points of interest.

Have you noticed more spam? You're not going crazy. Symantec AntiSpam tracking has shown an increase in spam by over 15 percent from the month of October to mid-December. In...

Dave Cole | 25 Jan 2007 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

We’re happy to report that so far today, Peacomm and Mixor.Q activity is lighter than the maelstrom of activity we’ve seen in previous days. We’ve noted no new spam runs today, with the malware submissions and activity levels tapering off a bit as well. Phew! Our Security Response team in Pune, India, has pulled together a slick Flash-based run through of the attack, which can be viewed using the following URL:
http://www.symantec.com/content/en/us/home_homeoffice/media/flash/peacomm.html

Just a little more info on this threat you may have not heard before—it is communicating over peer-to-peer using the Overnet protocol and network (of eDonkey fame). After connecting to the network, the threat then searches for some particular hashes (searches are done by hash, not by specific filename) and eventually it receives a reply that includes some 'meta tag' information...