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MessageLabs September trend report on email and web security threats

  • 01 November, 2005 09:59

<p>The September MessageLabs Intelligence Report, providing a run down on recent email and Web security threats and global trends, is available for download from:</p>
<p>Key points: (*See the graphs in the report for more detail)</p>
- The global ratio of spam in email traffic in September increased by 2.5% to 67.6%. However, the underlying plateau continued, averaging 67.3% of inbound email traffic in the seven months March-September 2005.*</p>
<p>- In September 40.3% of Australian emails intercepted by MessageLabs were spam – up from 33.0% in August and 32.2% in July.*</p>
<p>- The top 4 industries targeted by spam attacks globally are Estate Agents, Telecommunications, Chemical/pharmaceutical and Healthcare.*</p>
<p>Anti-Virus and Trojan
- the global ratio of email-borne viruses continued to fall. In September 1 in 52 emails carried a virus, down from 1 in 43 in August, 1 in 32 in July and 1 in 28 in June. This trend reinforces the move by cyber criminals to other, more sophisticated means of distributing viruses and trogans.*</p>
<p>- In September 2.6% of Australian emails intercepted by MessageLabs contained viruses – down from 3.4% in August and 5.0% in July.*</p>
<p>- The top 4 industries targeted by virus attacks globally for September 2005 are Administration, Non-profit organisations, Manufacturing and Retail.*</p>
<p>- The most prevalent mass-mailing virus continues to be Netsky.P, however as the rate of new MyTobs continues it may soon take the top spot. MyTob is already the largest and most widespread family of viruses.</p>
- The number of phishing attacks increased in September in a pattern similar to spikes seen in April and May. The earlier drop in phishing volumes may be partly attributed to the increased user awareness of online security.</p>
- 60% of Australian businesses have experienced some form of spyware issue.</p>
<p>General observations:
• The creators of email viruses moving away from individuals who wanted to create mischief and impress their peers to criminal gangs using the Internet to reach new victims for targeted attacks including blackmail, espionage and denial of service.
• As email protection is becoming more effective, this criminal element has had to find alternatives to using email as a means of spreading malware eg HTTP (web) traffic. Therefore companies need to protect against both email and web threats.
• The web access patterns of individuals is now of great interest to cyber-criminals: if you know what sites a user habitually visits, you know the HTTP addresses through which you can attempt to gain unauthorised access to their PC – and to the internal network on which it operates,
• As a result – more attacks are targeting browsers eg via the Dynamic Link Library (DLL) technique.</p>
<p>MessageLabs' global experts and local spokespeople are available for further comment.</p>
<p>Previous MessageLabs Intelligence Reports are available at:</p>
<p>Media Contact:
Claire Hosegood
Ph. +61 (0)2 8208 7111
Mob. 0411 253 663

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