Symantec’s October 2009, MessageLabs Intelligence Report, shows how far ahead Spammers plan in order to entrap the unwary web surfer. Just as you are preparing for the holidays, so are the Cybercriminals. As the old saying goes “forewarned is forearmed”, so be prepared.
Courtesy of MessageLabs:
October begins the holiday season and for the next three months, online shopping and research will become a premium for consumers. Symantec today announced its October 2009 MessageLabs Intelligence Report which reveals the that the spam gangs behind the biggest botnets – Cutwail, Rustock and Donbot – are using the same upcoming major holidays and world events as the themes for their the latest spam runs.
Highlights from the latest report.
Halloween – Trick or treat? Only 0.5% of spam right now is tied to Halloween – however MessageLabs Intelligence expects approximately 500 MILLION Halloween themed spam emails to be in circulation worldwide, each day, as the holiday approaches this week. The majority of this type of spam links to pharmaceutical or medical spam sites and comes from the Rustock and Donbot botnets.
Thanksgiving and Christmas – Spam from the Cutwail botnet uses both Thanksgiving and Christmas as a theme to sell replica watches. To date, holiday spam accounts for approximately 2% of all spam. More than 2 BILLION Thanksgiving or Christmas-themed spam emails are projected to be in circulation globally each day.
And spammers are even preparing for some of the next big holiday and major events in 2010 already.
Valentine’s Day – MessageLabs Intelligence has already started to see the first runs of St. Valentine’s Day spam, more than 4 months before the occasion. These are being sent from the Cutwail and Rustock botnets, and relate to pharmaceutical and medical spam.
2010 World Cup – Next summer’s soccer games in South Africa have already precipitated a small number of spam messages relating to the event. These are advance-fee fraud or 419-style scams, and they include images of Nelson Mandela and the official FIFA logo.
How successful are these scams? Consumers fall victim to messages like this all the time, fueling an underground economy worth an estimated $105 billion in profit from fraudulent activities.
“As is typical with spammers this time of year, we are seeing them try to capitalize on the holiday season,” said MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst, Paul Wood. “Although they may be a bit overzealous, spamming is a numbers game and the spammers have certainly succeeded with volume thus far. Perhaps their early-bird approach is an attempt to compete with the other botnets and get in early to maximize their chances of success.”
You can read a full copy of the report here.
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