The volumes of spam messages has increased by 44.29 percent in the first quarter of 2007 from the fourth quarter of 2006 according to Email security statistics complied by SonicWall Smartlab. Overall junk email rose 24.46 percent over the same period, this includes spam and phishing, viruses, and Directory Harvest attacks.
Directory harvest attacks continue to make up the bulk of junk email in the Q1 of 2007 at 57.99 percent, but this is down from the fourth quarter of 2006 at 63.52 percent. These attacks are one type of connection-level spamming, where spammers send thousands of messages to an email server in an attempt to determine through trial and error what email addresses are active on a given domain.
While the number of good emails rose to 6.83 percent in 2007, SonicWall recorded an increase of phishing attacks designed to steal user identity. A spike in phishing attacks occurred in mid-January, mirroring similar patterns from previous years, as consumers were sorting through their holiday bills and phishers attempted to take advantage of the seasonally high level of credit card activity.
“We see no signs that the avalanche of junk email is abating,” said Gleb Budman, senior director of Email Security at SonicWALL. “IT administrators and users are grappling with a huge productivity issue, where more than nine-tenths of inbound emails are junk.”
SonicWALL quarterly data also shows that the familiar signs of the malware economy remain as a threat. For example, in late January a temporary rise in Directory Harvest attacks of 15 percent was detected. This was followed in early February by a brief rise in virus emails of 12 percent. In mid-February there was a rise of 28 percent in phishing emails, including the highest-volume phishing day of the quarter on February 12th.
“It takes an average of 34 seconds to deal with each unwanted email that makes its way into a network,” added Budman. “Spam solutions need constant updating if they are to withstand the barrage of unproductive or dangerous email that’s being generated by the malware economy.”
In the fight against spam, SonicWALL technologies include: SonicWALL Email Security, using a combination of technologies to fight spam, phishing, virus, DHA, and other attacks; SonicWALL Content Filtering solution using unique Adversarial Bayesian technology identifies and blocks spammers’ attempts at trickery based on content analysis.
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