The bad guys are strategic in their thinking; they plan ahead – and realize that the timing and implementation of tactics, based on their strategy, is critical to achieving maximum “market” penetration.
Now it seems, certain cybercriminals have developed a new strategy, and tactics, focusing on specific targets, sniping if you like, rather than using the well tested shotgun model.
If you are a Director, Senior Official, Vice President, Manager, or Executive Director, at your company, (especially if you are responsible for foreign trade and defense policy), MessageLabs Intelligence has some bad news for you. You are being specifically targeted by cyber criminals intent on gaining access to your company’s sensitive corporate data.
In Symantec’s March 2010 MessageLabs Intelligence Report, Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst reports – “A large proportion of targeted attacks are sent from legitimate webmail accounts which are located in the US”. On closer inspection however, MessageLabs Intelligence discovered that more targeted attacks actually originated in China (28.2 percent), Romania (21.1 percent) than the United States(13.8 percent).
The spam landscape changes constantly and since knowledge is power, and we as computer users need as much power as we can get in order to stay safe on the Internet, I encourage you to read the highlights of MessageLabs Intelligence March report, just released today.
Spam: In March 2010, the global ratio of spam in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was 90.7 percent (1 in 1.10 emails), an increase of 1.5 percentage points since February.
Viruses: The global ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was one in 358.3 emails (0.28 percent) in March, an decrease of 0.05 percentage points since February. In March 16.8 percent of email-borne malware contained links to malicious websites, a decrease of 13.7 percentage points since February.
Phishing: In March, phishing activity was 1 in 513.7 emails (0.19 percent) a decrease of 0.02 percentage points since February. When judged as a proportion of all email-borne threats such as viruses and Trojans, the proportion of phishing emails had increased by 8.4 percentage points to 64.6 percent of all email-borne threats.
Web security: Analysis of web security activity shows that 14.9 percent of all web-based malware intercepted was new in March, an increase of 1.6 percentage points since February. MessageLabs Intelligence also identified an average of 1,919 new websites per day harboring malware and other potentially unwanted programs such as spyware and adware, a decrease of 61.6 percent since February.
· Spam levels in Hungary rose to 95.7 percent in March positioning it as the most spammed country.
· In the US, 91.1 percent of email was spam and 89.5 percent in Canada. Spam levels in the UK rose to 90.1 percent.
· In the Netherlands, spam accounted for 93.0 percent, while spam levels reached 90.1 percent in Australia and remained at 91.3 percent in Germany.
· Spam levels in Hong Kong reached 92.0 percent and spam levels in Japan were at 87.5 percent.
· Virus activity in Taiwan was 1 in 90.9 emails, making it the most targeted country for email-borne malware in March.
· Virus levels for the US were 1 in 551.4 and 1 in 492.8 for Canada. In Germany, virus levels were 1 in 462.0, 1 in 834.7 for the Netherlands, 1 in 351.6 for Australia, 1 in 505.5 for Hong Kong, 1 in 1063.3 for Japan and 1 in 504.1 for Singapore.
· UK was the most active country for phishing attacks in March with 1 in 254.8 emails.
· In March, the most spammed industry sector with a spam rate of 94.7 percent was the Engineering sector.
· Spam levels for the Education sector were 91.9 percent, 91.1 percent for the Chemical & Pharmaceutical sector, 91.6 percent for IT Services, 91.8 percent for Retail, 89.1 percent for Public Sector and 89.5 percent for Finance.
· In March, the Public Sector remained the most targeted industry for malware with 1 in 77.1 emails being blocked as malicious.
· Virus levels for the Chemical & Pharmaceutical sector were 1 in 642.9, 1 in 510.9 for the IT Services sector, 1 in 728.6 for Retail, 1 in 189.1 for Education and 1 in 301.8 for Finance.
The March 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.
Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence is a respected source of data and analysis for messaging security issues, trends and statistics. MessageLabs Intelligence provides a range of information on global security threats based on live data feeds from our control towers around the world scanning billions of messages each week.
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. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available here.
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