MessageLabs Intelligence – January 2010 Report

image We know that running security applications alone, will not ensure your safety on the Internet; education and awareness have taking on a new urgency.

MessageLabs Intelligence, part of Symantec Hosted Services, has just released it’s January 2010 Report , which will help you understand both the state of the current Internet threat environment, and what you can expect in the months ahead.

Reading this type of report (or at least the highlights), is certainly educational, and can be a major step in expanding that sense of threat awareness that active Internet users require.

Here’s a quick awareness tip: Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, we can expect to see major cybercriminal activity relating to this special day.

There is some surprising data contained in this report. Did you know, for example, that Spam borne Viruses, and Phishing attacks, actually dropped in January – at least marginally? Could this be the start of a downward trend?

If in fact, there is a downward trend in these areas, just where are persistent cybercriminals likely to refocus their crafty attacks? The following report will give you some indication of where we’re likely headed, and what we’ll have to deal with.

MessageLabs Intelligence report highlights:

Spam: In January 2010, the global ratio of spam in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was 83.9 percent (1 in 1.2 emails), a decrease of 0.3 percent since December 2009.

Viruses: The global ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was one in 326.9 emails (0.31 percent) in January, a decrease of 0.03 percent since December 2009. In January 13.2 percent of email-borne malware contained links to malicious websites, a decrease of 5.9 percent since December.

Phishing: In January, phishing activity was 1 in 562.3 emails (0.18 percent) a decrease of 0.11 percent since December 2009. When judged as a proportion of all email-borne threats such as viruses and Trojans, the proportion of phishing emails had decreased by 14.3 percent to 65.3 percent of all email-borne threats.

Web security: Analysis of web security activity shows that 41.4 percent of all web-based malware intercepted was new in January, an increase of 0.6 percent since December. MessageLabs Intelligence also identified an average of 1,760 new websites per day harboring malware and other potentially unwanted programs such as spyware and adware, a decrease of 56.2 percent since December.

Geographical Trends:

Spam levels in Denmark fell by 0.6 percent in January, but Denmark remained the most spammed country with levels of 94.8 percent of all email.

In the US, spam decreased to 91.6 percent and to 89.7 percent in Canada. Spam levels fell to 90.0 percent in the UK.

In the Netherlands, spam levels reached 92.4 percent, while spam levels in Australia reached 90.6 percent.

Spam levels in Hong Kong reached 92.1 percent and spam levels in Japan were at 88.2 percent.

Virus activity in China rose by 0.13 percent to 1 in 121.4 emails, placing it at the top of the table for January.

Virus levels for the US were 1 in 440.3 and 1 in 383.1 for Canada. In Germany, virus levels were 1 in 271.6, 1 in 496.4 for the Netherlands, 1 in 644.1 for Australia, 1 in 331.9 for Hong Kong and 1 in 396.5 for Japan.

The UK was the most active country for phishing attacks with 1 in 253.6 emails.

Vertical Trends:

In January, the most spammed industry sector with a spam rate of 95.1 percent was the Engineering sector.

Spam levels for the Education sector were 92.1 percent, 91.0 percent for the Chemical & Pharmaceutical sector, 91.5 percent for IT Services, 92.3 percent for Retail , 89.3 percent for Public Sector and 90.1 percent for Finance.

Virus activity in the Public sector fell by 0.33 percent but moved to the top of the table with 1 in 109.7 emails being infected in January.

Virus levels for the Chemical & Pharmaceutical sector were 1 in 230.9, 1 in 353.4 for the IT Services sector, 1 in 607.2 for Retail, 1 in 187.7 for Education and 1 in 391.5 for Finance.

I highly recommend that you don’t stop with just the highlights of this report, but instead, read the full report. The January 2010 MessageLabs Intelligence Report provides greater detail on all of the trends and figures noted above, as well as more detailed geographical and vertical trends. The full report is available here.

About Symantec: Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. More information is available here.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Reports, MessageLabs, Symantec, System Security, Tech Net News, Windows Tips and Tools

4 responses to “MessageLabs Intelligence – January 2010 Report

  1. Murphy

    Thank you for this info .
    Best regards !

  2. Very interesting report, I’ve also heard security experts are expecting a rise in bank fraud malware this year. Both in the amount and the sophistication of the attacks. A banking industry group now recommends using a dedicated machine just used for banking in every house hold because of the enormity of the problem. Another great security blogger Brian Krebs, unfortunately no longer with the Washington Post, recommended using a Linux Live CD for banking. Brian was never prone to hysteria and it’s a recommendation I take seriously.
    Hope you’re feeling better Bill.
    PS If you have time, I just blogged about a new (to me) tool I’ve found and its changed how I clean a machine. If interested feel free to carry it, if its up to your standards.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Mark,

      Operating at about 80% – but it sures beats 20%.

      I was shocked when Krebs left the WP! I actually happened to be reading his final post (not yet knowing it was his final), and almost fell off my chair when he said that was the end. Wonder what gives? Found him again a bit later at, although I’m not seeing him post regularly. Funny, that.

      I think we’re already beginning to see some strange and unusual penetrations, and attempts, already – it’ll get much worst this year, unfortunately. You’re right about using a Linux Live CD for banking. It’s a great idea – I have a few friends who use this method. Me – no way will I bank, or pay my bills on line.

      Your article on K’s rescue disk is terrific – would love to run this as a guest piece. Once a month, or so, for a few years now, I’ve been running something similar from Avira which I find pretty reasonable. Sloooooooow thought, as you pointed out.

      Good to hear from you. Trust all is well with you, and your family.