The Deadly Duo: Spam and Viruses, June 2003
Spam attacks increase nearly 2.5 percent for the month, as the ratio of spam to non-spam reaches the global tipping point.
The "spiritual" category remained unchanged at 2 percent of all spam, while the "adult" and "health" categories each dropped 7 percent.
|June 2003 Spam Category Data|
|Type of Spam||May||June||Change|
|Source: Brightmail's Probe Network|
MessageLabs made a prediction in December 2002 that spam would outnumber non-spam around July 2003, and Brightmail data supports the forecast. As of June 2003, Brightmail found that more than 48 percent of all e-mail traffic was spam, and the company expects the halfway point to be reached before the end of the summer. Brightmail is already finding that some e-mail users, such as high profile companies, are suffering from spam rates as high as 79 percent.
"Spam e-mail volumes are growing exponentially, so our forecast of spam breaking the 50 percent barrier of total Internet email traffic this summer is a conservative one. While the volume of adult spam is disturbing, the largest category of unsolicited spam continues to come from illegitimate direct mail companies that offer products to e-mail users who have not requested to be contacted," commented Brightmail's CEO, Enrique Salem.
The skyrocketing corporate spam rate has led to productivity losses, according to a survey from the American Management Association, Clearswift, and The ePolicy Institute.
The study of more than 1,100 U.S. employers revealed that employees spend about 25 percent of their workday on e-mail, averaging 107 minutes per day. While 24 percent report spending less than one hour, 31 percent spend more than two hours, and 8 percent more than four hours.
Furthermore, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents say that they have lost time in the last year due to e-mail system problems 35 percent estimate they lost only half a day, but 24 percent think they have lost more than two days.
On the positive side, 86 percent of respondents agree that e-mail has made them more efficient, in spite of the fact that nearly all (92 percent) receive spam mail at work. Nearly half (47 percent) say spam constitutes more than 10 percent of all their e-mail, and 7 percent report spam represents over 50 percent of all e-mail received.
"E-mail is a great communications tool but not without its shortcomings," said Ivan O'Sullivan, vice president at Clearswift. "These statistics reveal and solidify the idea that companies need to be proactive in understanding how to protect their confidential information assets and train employees how to maximize productive use of e-mail."
In addition to spam, viruses remain a growing threat to the widely used communication tool, as the "Worm/BugBear.B" worm becomes the most prevalent for the month of June.
|June 2003 Dirty Dozen|
|2.||Worm/Klez.E (including G)||18.2%|
|Note: The table above represents the most prevalent
viruses for June 2003, number one being the most frequent.
|Source: Central Command, Inc.|
"Worm/BugBear.B was triumphantly spreading around the globe at an alarming rate and it is considered highly malicious because it can expose sensitive data," warns Steven Sundermeier, product manager at Central Command, Inc.
Worm/BugBear.B drops a keylogger component that can record and leak vital information about the user, contains a backdoor designed to wait on TCP Port 1080 and listen for instructions from its creator, as well as, the ability to disable personal firewall and antiviral software.
Brightmail defines the categories as follows: