Spam in August 2012: Criminal Activity has Reached its Peak
According to Kaspersky Lab’s spam report, in August the percentage of spam in email traffic continued to go down and averaged 70.2%, a decrease of 1.6 percentage points from July. However, these figures – which are typical for the summer months – do not mean spam poses any less of a threat. The share of malicious attachments in mail traffic grew considerably in July, when malicious files were found in 4.5% of all mail traffic. In August, there was a slight decline in the amount of malicious attachments, but they were still found in 3.9% of all emails. The percentage of fraudulent messages and emails advertising fake designer goods in spam traffic continued to grow.
In August, spammers distributed emails advertising services offered by other cybercriminal businesses, in addition to their own self-promotion. One prominent mailing outlined a scheme to make money by using copied bank cards to steal cash. There were also emails offering address databases to distribute spam to different countries, including those like Iran where spam is seldom seen.
China returned to the top of the ratings for the biggest sources of spam in August 2012. It headed the Top 20 with 31.5% of all distributed spam. China is followed by the USA (15.7%) and India (12.4%). The Chinese contribution to European spam was up 6 percentage points, which lead to a reduction in the other countries’ shares.
August saw major shifts in the topics of European spam traffic. Despite the fact that the Personal Finance category maintains a high share, it decreased significantly compared to the previous month (-21.5 percentage points). In August, English-language spam became more diverse compared to the previous month. In addition to the growing share of "pharmaceutical" messages (+9.2 percentage points), spam traffic also contained quite a lot of emails advertising casinos (+3.6 percentage points) as well as adult content spam, which accounted for about 1.5% of all spam traffic.
“Summer spam is usually much more highly criminalized, with a growing proportion of emails advertising illegal goods and spreading malicious code. At the same time spammers are actively offering their services and the services of other representatives of the cybercriminal business. Thus, criminal spam activity reaches its peak in August. In this regard, September is expected to be calmer”, says Maria Namestnikova, Senior Spam Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.
The full version of the spam report for August 2012 is available at www.securelist.com