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Commtouch Reports Spam Increases After 4Q Decrease
[January 17, 2011]

Commtouch Reports Spam Increases After 4Q Decrease

Jan 17, 2011 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- Spam levels started bouncing back after a significant decrease in the fourth quarter, Commtouch reported in its quarterly Internet Threats Trend Report, which covers spam, phishing, malware and Web threats.

In a release dated Jan. 12, the Company said December's daily average for spam was around 30 percent less than in September; however spam activity increased by 45 percent just prior to the report's publication. The average amount of spam for the fourth quarter of 2010 was 83 percent of all email sent, down from 88 percent in the third quarter. The number of zombies active in the fourth quarter was on average 15 percent less than in the previous quarter.

"An inactive botnet is like an idle factory, a money-losing proposition for spammers," said Asaf Greiner, Commtouch vice president of products. "We have seen situations where after a lull in spam or malware distribution a new tactic was introduced. Threat experts are wise to continue following changes in network behavior in order to proactively block new threats." Report highlights include: -Spam levels averaged 142 billion spam/phishing messages per day during Q4 compared to the 198 billion spam/phishing messages per day during Q3.

-Approximately 288,000 zombies were activated daily, a significant decrease as compared to 339,000 during Q3.

-The most popular spam topic in Q4 was pharmacy ads (42 percent of all spam).

-For the fifth quarter running, pornography/sexually explicit material is the website category most likely to include malware.

-India keeps its title for the third quarter in a row as the country with the most zombies - 17 percent of all zombies.

-Streaming media/downloads continues to be the most popular topic for blog creators in the Web 2.0 sphere of user-generated content.

During Q4, vintage spam methods were combined with new ones to further increase the potential for successful spam purchases, phishing, and malware installations. Small and hidden fonts were combined with Twitter subject lines and links exploiting Google's cache service. This quarter also saw the return of ASCII art spam. As for more modern threats, Koobface malware links continued to circulate on Facebook, while, offering content sharing and synchronization services, was used to host spam links.

Commtouch's quarterly trend report reflects the results of its analysis of billions of Internet transactions daily within the company's cloud-based GlobalView Network. With the acquisition of the Command Antivirus division of Authentium Commtouch has added the malware analysis capabilities of the Command AV labs.

Commtouch Recurrent Pattern Detection, GlobalView technologies and multi-layered Command Antivirus identify and block Internet security threats.

Commtouch provides Internet security technology.

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