Nine in ten emails now spam

River of junk stems from malware plague


Nine in ten emails are now spam with an estimated 200bn junk mail messages a day clogging up the internet, according to a new report by networking and security giant Cisco.

Drive-by download attacks - planting redirection scripts on legitimate sites that lead onto hacker controlled websites full of exploits - have become a popular method for spreading all forms of malware, including botnet clients that turn PCs into spam-churning zombies.

The US is the single biggest source of spam, accounting for 17.2 per cent of junk mail. Other big offenders include Turkey (9.2 per cent), Russia (8 per cent), Canada (4.7 per cent), Brazil (4.1 per cent), India (3.5 per cent), South Korea (3.3 per cent), Germany and the UK (2.9 per cent each).

The latest 2008 edition of Cisco's annual security report notes a 90 percent growth in threats stemming from legitimate domains, nearly double that recorded in 2007. Numerous mainstream websites were loaded with iFrames, malicious scripts that redirect visitors to malware-downloading sites.

The compromise of legitimate domains is all part of the bigger picture of increasingly sophisticated attacks which these days are usually tied to cybercrooks looking to turn a fast buck, rather than teenagers looking to make a name for themselves.

Vulnerabilities are the fodder of these cyberattacks - Cisco reports that vulnerabilities increased 11.5 per cent from 2007. One of the big growth areas in this overall figure was a rise in vulnerabilities involving virtualisation technology, which almost trebled from 35 last year to 103 in 2008.

Cisco has posted videos summarising the main findings of its report (here) and looking at botnets specifically, which it describes as the nexus of cybercrime, on YouTube (here). ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • The future: Windows streaming through notched Apple screens

    Choice is the word for Jamf's Dean Hager

    Interview As Apple's devices continue to find favour with enterprise users, the fortress that is Windows appears to be under attack in the corporate world.

    Speaking to The Register as the Jamf Nation User Conference wound down, the software firm's CEO, Dean Hager, is - unsurprisingly - ebullient when it comes to the prospects for Apple gear in the world of suits.

    Jamf specialises in device management and authentication, and has long been associated with managing Apple hardware in business and education environments. In recent years it has begun connecting its products with services such as Microsoft's Azure Active Directory as administrators face up to a hybrid working future.

    Continue reading
  • There’s a wave of ransomware coming down the pipeline. What can you do about it?

    AI can help. Here’s how…

    Sponsored The Colonial Pipeline attack earlier this year showed just how devastating a ransomware attack is when it is targeted at critical infrastructure.

    It also illustrated how traditional security techniques are increasingly struggling to keep pace with determined cyber attackers, whether their aim is exfiltrating data, extorting organisations, or simply causing chaos. Or, indeed an unpleasant combination of all three.

    So, what are your options? More people looking for more flaws isn’t going to be enough – there simply aren’t enough skilled people, there are too many bugs, and there are way too many attackers. So, it’s clear that smart cyber defenders need to be supplemented by even smarter technology incorporating AI. You can learn what this looks like by checking out this upcoming Regcast, “Securing Critical Infrastructure from Cyber-attack” on October 28 at 5pm.

    Continue reading
  • Ransomware criminals have feelings too: BlackMatter abuse caused crims to shut down negotiation portal

    Or so says infsec outfit Emsisoft

    Hurling online abuse at ransomware gangs may have contributed to a hardline policy of dumping victims' data online, according to counter-ransomware company Emsisoft.

    Earlier this month, the Conti ransomware gang declared it would publish victims' data and break off ransom negotiations if anyone other than "respected journalist and researcher personalities" [sic] dared publish snippets of ransomware negotiations, amid a general hardening of attitudes among ransomware gangs.

    Typically these conversation snippets make it into the public domain because curious people log into ransomware negotiation portals hosted by the criminals. The BlackMatter (aka DarkSide) gang's portal credentials (detailed in a ransom note) became exposed to the wider world, however, and the resulting wave of furious abuse hurled at the crims prompted them to pull up the virtual drawbridge.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021