Symantec reported in its August 2009 MessageLabs Intelligence Report that the spam activity levels of Cutwail, one of the largest botnets globally, reduced by 90 percent following a shutdown of an ISP in Latvia but Donbot, another large botnet, continued to use shortened URLs in its spam runs, with ten billion emails being distributed in just one day!
Other highlights of the report include:
1. Spam: The global ratio of spam in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was 88.5 percent (1 in 1.13 emails), reflecting a 0.9 percent decrease since July.
2. Virus: The global ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was one in 296.6 emails (0.34 percent), almost unchanged since July. In August, 14.8 percent of email-borne malware contained links to malicious websites, a decrease of 0.4 percent since July.
3. Phishing: One in 341.2 emails (0.29 percent) comprised some form of phishing attack, a decrease of 0.01 percent since July. When judged as a proportion of all email-borne threats such as viruses and Trojans, the number of phishing emails had decreased by 6.0 percent to 86.9 percent of all email-borne malware threats intercepted in August.
4. Web security: Analysis of web security activity shows that 45.4 percent of all web-based malware intercepted was new in August, an increase of 44.7 percent since July. MessageLabs Intelligence also identified an average of 3,510 new websites per day harboring malware and other potentially unwanted programs such as spyware and adware, a decrease of 0.01 percent since July.
The MessageLabs also reported that regional trends showed mixed results.
Hong Kong was the most spammed country in August although levels fell by 0.8 percent to 93.4 percent.
Spam levels in the US and Canada rose to 89.5 percent and 88.7 percent respectively. The majority of other countries saw a decline in August with levels in the UK falling to 91.6 percent, Germany to 90.4 percent, France to 90.7 percent, and The Netherlands to 86.3 percent.
Levels in Australia and Japan declined to 90.6 percent and 89.2 percent respectively.
Although virus activity in China declined to 1 in 196.9 emails, it was placed at the top of the virus table for August.
Singapore and Switzerland maintained their position in the top 5 countries with virus levels of 1 in 196.9 and 1 in 214.0 emails respectively.
The UK, with levels of 1 in 219.3 and UAE with levels of 1 in 228.66 emails completed the top 5 virus affected countries for August.
Virus activity increased in Germany and The Netherlands with levels of 1 in 275.5 emails and 1 in 612.18 emails respectively.
In the US levels decreased slightly to 1 in 387.1 and increased in Canada with levels reaching 1 in 309.9.
July’s most affected country, Australia, became the twelfth most affected country in August with virus levels of 1 in 308.3 emails.
In Hong Kong virus activity was 1 in 297.7 emails and in Japan it increased to 1 in 400.76 emails.
Source: MessageLabs / Symantec