Commtouch Report: Crooks are Getting More Creative

Avoiding spam is getting tougher according to the 2010 Commtouch Trend Report covering the current Internet threat landscape. The major takeaway: the crooks are getting smarter. The new techniques being used to gain access to your data, trick you into buying, or turn your computer into a zombie are getting more sophisticated. Here are a few:

Plain Jane: Gone are the days of dubious-looking subject lines tipping you off to spam. Now, spammers have caught on and are mimicking the same techniques legitimate companies use to stay out of the spam folder. The bare bones, text-only, transactional emails that banks and retailers use for legitimate communication are now being copied by spammers to encourage you to click and get infected.

Curiosity Clicks: Playing on our natural curiosity, spammers are using emails with simple, vague subject lines like “FW:” or “RE:” to trick you. Some even use a technique to spoof your email address so the email looks like it’s coming from you! The spammers are counting on your curiosity about what’s in the email to motivate you to click and get infected.

Show Me the Link: Forget about those misleading “Click Here” links that spammers would insert into emails prompting you to act on their malicious schemes. Now, because they’re adjusting to public knowledge of their tricks, they’ll give you the entire link. Often the link is spoofed to look like a legitimate link to CNN or some other reputable source. They’re hoping you’ll click the link, hit their “fake news” page, and then click a link there that will, yes, you guessed it, infect you.

With over $559.7 million dollars in losses from email fraud in 2009, the motivation for spammers isn’t going away. The best course of action is to seek protection. That’s why Rackspace Email & Apps employs some of the latest scanning technologies for every mailbox we host.

Other interesting nuggets from the report:

·       1 out of every 9 emails you received was spam near the end of March 2010

·       The #1 spam culprit, representing 81% of all spam messages, is pharmacy spam, followed by replicas.

·       An average of 305,000 zombies are activated daily, with Brazil being the top zombie producer (14%) in the world.

·       The most infected website category out there used to be “business,” but now it’s “pornography.”

·       The most used domain name to send spam? However, most of the Gmail addresses used are fake address that aren’t even affiliated with Gmail’s servers.  

Lizetta Staplefoote is a Rackspace Marketing Copywriter with a decade of experience writing about small business challenges for healthcare, real estate, and technology. Her passion is researching and writing about the impact of cloud computing. When she's not wordsmithing, she enjoys hanging out with her sons, exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, and feeding her music addiction.


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