Spam gets dirty in 2008

Spam gets dirty in 2008

Unwanted emails are now more liikely to carry malware threats, says IronPort

UK PCs are now more likely to be deluged with spam than ever before and are likely to be increasingly targeted at individuals in the future, according to a new report from web and email security vendor IronPort released today.

The firm's 2008 Internet Security Trends Report finds that the UK now gets 20 billion spam emails every day, which amounts to 98 percent of all email traffic. The trend is likely to continue into 2008 with spammers harvesting personal information from sites such as Facebook in order to target attacks more effectively, according to IronPort's Jason Steer.

"When a message is customised to an individual; the click through rate is higher than when not," he explained. "Spammers don't want to target 100 percent of the population, they want the five to ten percent of high net worth individuals who are worth going after."

Steer also argued that the current method for evaluating the effectiveness of anti-spam technology needs overhauling. Because spam numbers are so large today, saying that filters capture 95 to 98 percent of spam gives the customer a false sense of security, he added.

Another trend from 2007 likely to continue into next year is the convergence of threats; that is, spam which contains a URL link to a malicious web site. " Traditionally spam was about getting consumers to make a purchase, but now it's what we call 'dirty spam' … it's about compromising users' PCs," said Steer.