Spam up in August, despite PDF type's short life

It was also a big month for e-greeting spam

August was a busy month for spammers, with junk e-mail levels reaching nearly 70 percent of all messages sent -- despite the quick decline of a new type of spam.

According to Symantec's monthly spam report for August, unwanted e-mail accounted for 69 percent of all mail sent, up 3 percent from July. Spam volumes are creeping up toward the levels reached last October when image spam -- spam messages embedded in image files that spam filters initially couldn't read -- inflated junk mail to 73 percent of all messages sent.

In August, image spam had little impact, accounting for less than 10 percent of all spam sent, according to Symantec.

Last month also saw the dramatic rise of PDF spam, e-mail messages with a PDF attached -- which most spam filters can't read -- that usually attempted to convince the recipient to purchase stocks. First spotted by Symantec in June, PDF spam accounted for 20 percent of all spam at its peak in mid-August.

Spammers quickly retreated from the technique, however, bringing its end-of-the-month level to less than 1 percent of all spam.

Symantec's take is that spammers have backed off from sending PDF spam to tweak the technique -- in essence reloading their spam blasters -- or have decided this form of spam isn't working and have gone back to the drawing board.

Officials at Sophos, another security vendor, agree with the theory that PDF spam was more trouble than it was worth for recipients -- since they had to actually open an attachment to read the message -- and so spammers weren't getting the desired results from the technique. Sophos says that e-mail users are hesitant to open e-mail attachments from unknown senders.

August also was a big month for e-greeting spam, messages that point recipients to a Web site where they promise an electronic greeting will be waiting - but malware is downloaded. There was also a spam blast that promised to bring recipients to the popular YouTube site to see a video of themselves, but instead linked them to a malware-laden site.

Both these blasts were powered by the Storm worm.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Cara Garretson

Network World

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?