Spam, Virus, & Phishing Threat Trends - September 2006

Spam levels in September decreased 0.1% in from August to 64.4% (1 in 1.55 emails) while Viruses incident increased 0.1% to 1 in 89.6 emails (1.12%) and Phishing attacks jumped 0.27% to 1 in 170 emails (0.59%), according to threat trends from MessageLabs Intelligence report for September.

Source: MessageLabs

The top 5 countries being targeted with the highest ratio of spam in September are Israel (73.6%), Ireland (64.2%), UnitedStates (60.7%), HongKong (60.4%), Germany (57.6%). Japan (28.3%) and India (25.0%) experience the lowest spma rates. 

By vertical industry breakdown, the Education sector remains the main target, with a higher ratio of spam than other sectors.  Overall, the largest rise was seen in the General Services sector (ranked 5th), which rose by 3.5% to 53.5% in September. The greatest decline in the top-5 sectors came in Recreation, where spam levels fell by 5.9% compared with the previous month. 

For viruses, Business Support Services remains the dominant focus of activity. The greatest increase within the top-5 sectors and overall was seen in the Education sector, where levels rose by 0.5% in September. The largest drop across the top-5 sectors was in the Wholesale sector, where virus levels fell by 0.2% compared with the previous month. 

Commtouch Q3 Spam Statistics:

Spam attacks – and in particular image spam and zombie-generated spam – grew to new heighs of 3.5 million attack patterns in a single day during the third quarter of 2006, according to Commtouch. Each attack pattern is typically comprised of tens of thousands of emails. Image spam increased to 50% of all spam during its peak distribution time. In the second quarter, it reached a peak of 30% of all spam. Commtouch research identified that on average, 85% of spam messages sent during the third quarter of 2006 were sent via zombie-infected computers.

The breakdown of the most pervasive content of spam messages for the third quarter of 2006:  





Sex Enhancers


Finance (work from home,mortgage,etc.)








Commtouch research also shows that during the third quarter, nearly half of all phishing attempts preyed on account holders in eBay or Paypal.

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