Spam in September 2012: End of the Holiday Season Brings Rise in Phishing and Spam Traffic

24 Oct 2012
Spam News

According to Kaspersky Lab data, in September the percentage of spam in email traffic grew by 2.3 percentage points from August and averaged 72.5%. The percentage of phishing emails increased threefold compared to August and amounted to 0.03%, while the share of malicious files fell half a percentage point and stood at 3.4% of all emails.

Contrary to our expectations the amount of attacks on social networking sites did not decrease in September. This category was still the most popular with the phishers. Financial organizations were attacked less often (-3.6 percentage points) which was most likely down to the efforts of banks and financial organizations to protect their clients and implement additional protection and authorization technologies.

September saw changes to both the most popular spam categories and the geographical distribution of spam flows. Personal finance spam could not maintain its summer surge and dropped to second place as its share shed a further 20 percentage points. Topping the list were fraudulent emails whose share increased by 36 percentage points.

August’s second and third biggest distributors of spam to European users switched places in September – the USA moved up one place (+1.8 percentage points), while India dropped to third place (-1.1 percentage points). South Korea and Vietnam, among the top six spam senders last month, also lost ground – in September they dropped to 12th and 14th places respectively. The most significant increases in spam distribution came from Spain (+2.9 percentage points) and the UK (+1.8 percentage points).

In terms of worldwide spam distribution, China maintained its lead accounting for 26.4% of all distributed spam. It was followed by the USA (12.5%) and India (10.1%).

September saw big changes in the patterns of email antivirus detections. The USA, which had topped the rating for eight months in a row, unexpectedly dropped to eighth place: the share of Kaspersky Mail Antivirus detections in the country decreased by 6.9 percentage points compared to August. At the same time Germany saw growth of 6 percentage points in the number of its antivirus detections, rocketing it into the lead. Spain, which came second in September’s rating, increased its contribution by more than 4 percentage points. Russia occupied third place with the considerable increase of 5.4 percentage points in the number of email antivirus detections.

 
Distribution of email antivirus detections by country, September 2012

Maria Namestnikova, Senior Spam Analyst at Kaspersky Lab, said: “In September, as forecast, spammers started to increase the volume of spam and phishing emails. This was due to the end of the holiday season and the growth in business activity.”

The full version of the spam report for September 2012 is available at securelist.com.

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