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Loss of Zombie Networks Results in Increased Efforts by Spammers

The loss of several zombie networks due to legal actions caused spammers to step up their criminal activities, making June the month of malware, according to Symantec’s June State of Spam & Phishing Report.

In 2010, Symantec had not seen malware levels above 3 percent of all spam, even on days when malware spam increased. However, malware spam made up almost 12 percent of all spam on June 13, and topped 5 percent June 3 and 15.

June also saw a jump in phishing numbers with an approximately 25 percent increase. Phishing websites created by automated toolkits doubled with an increase of 123 percent from May. The number of non-English phishing sites also increased by 15 percent. Among non-English phishing sites, French and Italian continued to be higher in June.

Popular subject lines spammers use include a blank subject line, “Outlook Setup Notification” (which was a large spam out-break that contained malware) and “Reset your Facebook Password.” Using a celebrity’s name is also favored as seen with the subject line “Angelina Jolie invited you to join Facebook.”

Symantec’s report also noted how the United States continues to be the leading country of origin when it comes to spam, followed by India and the Netherlands. The United States also remains the top location for phishing lures and phishing hosts.

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