Scotts Valley, California – (The Hosting News) – March 30, 2006 – Internet content protection firm, SurfControl, has released its
latest findings on email threats and vulnerability. Using SurfControl’s
Advanced Threat Intelligence (ATI), SurfControl’s Global Threat Experts have
compiled threat trend data through February 2006.
According to the company, approximately 28% of phishing attacks detected by ATI were generated using
phishing kits that act as site-development applications. The kits include
ready-made graphics, programming code, and sample content used to generate e-
mail capable of luring users to their malicious sites. Trend data shows that
the phishing kit is widely used in various countries.
ATI detected attacks
targeting financial institutions throughout North America, Europe, and
Although spam in general in on the decline, embedded spam is still very
popular. Embedded spam is that in which the entire message is contained within
a graphic, and has no extraneous text. It often includes graphs, statistics,
stock tips or images. Over 60% of the recent embedded campaigns were
created via Outlook Express.
The use of Outlook Express is a practical choice
as it generates a very generic Content ID for the embedded graphics, allowing
spam to blend easily with legitimate email footers in comparison to dedicated
mass mailer programs.
Threat experts report that health related spam continues its record climb
in volume as detected by ATI in February 2006. Following closely behind,
finance related spam includes an increase in embedded stock tips. In summary,
both Health and Finance spam are equally sharing an increased volume.
Based on statistics ranging from Nov 2004 to Feb 2006 ATI found that
phishing attacks remained relatively stationary throughout but notably spiked
at the end of fiscal year 2005 where financial activities were at their
An upswing in phishing attacks will likely be seen as early as May
2006. With variations in attacks already reported by both ATI and the Anti-
Phishing Working Group (APWG), it is probable that 2006 will see larger, localized, targeted and specific attack campaigns.
A snapshot of the same period last year reveals: Adult spam was in decline, which was attributed to an increase in other, non-email means of selling Adult content. Only one adult campaign was pronounced in 2005 but favored elongated Adult words as opposed to up front graphics.
As seen from February 2005 – the last peak in Adult spam volume – Adult spam has remained at under 10% of the total spam volume and has declined to below 5% in 2006. This almost assumes the death of English Adult spam. On the other hand, Japanese and Chinese retain significant amount of Adult spam in those regions.
To learn more about the SurfControl Adaptive Threat Intelligence service, please visit: www.surfcontrol.com.