Spam and Virus Report: June 2009

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Report courtesy of AppRiver

June was a busy month in the spam and virus world. Even with another ISP shutdown the spammers never gave in to pressure. Instead, the onslaught of junk mail seemed to be well varied and as incredibly annoying as ever. Here are a few of the highlights:

• Twitter has a huge fan base, including some individuals trying to make a quick buck. Until recently, malware attacks were typically limited to the Web-based world of Twitter, but now campaigns are targeting email inboxes and entice recipients to make money through their Twitter accounts.

• Spammers and malware writers used the deaths of several big celebrities, and other popular news topics from the past month, to form headlines for their campaigns.

• A rash of unintelligible emails containing what’s been dubbed as “word salad” began hitting our filters late in the month. There are many theories about their intent, and I include my own – alien landing strips!

• Rogue ISP and bullet-proof hosting provider Pricewert was shutdown in June thanks to some aggressive “urging” by the Federal Trade Commission. Spam volumes, in general, didn’t take the hit we were hoping for, though one botnet in particular appeared to have received a light slap on the wrist.

• Phishing was prevalent in June as is usual this time of year. A string of aggressive phishing and malware campaigns with multiple vectors visited AppRiver’s filters this past month.

• Microsoft et al. were used as a backdrop for several attacks involving email client updates this month, including one rather well put together attack urging users to patch a critical vulnerability in Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express. Knock Knock, “Hey dad, there’s a large wooden horse at the gate, should we let it in?”

• Who’s got their sleek new iPhone 3Gs? Malware authors attempted to use the new iPhone launch to slip malware onto computers of anxious buyers.

Total Email Traffic Volume

This chart represents both total and spam traffic throughout the month of June. We captured nearly 9 billion spam messages in June. Spam messages accounted for just less than 96 percent of all email traffic.

spam and virus report

Regions of Origin

This graph represents all email traffic by region. As usual, Europe leads the pack as the top spam producing region with a whopping 2.6 billion spam messages originating there in June.

spam and virus report

Top Ten Countries of Origin

This chart represents the top countries from which spam originated during June. All the usual suspects found their place in the top ten this month. Brazil ramped up its spam output once again to 950 million messages – the highest spam levels we have ever seen from Brazil, and I do not expect it to subside anytime soon.

spam and virus report