E-mail worms rarer in 2007, says vendor

But heading for extinction? Not likely

E-mail worms, not long ago the scourge of the Internet, have declined sharply in 2007, a security company has revealed.

According to UTM security vendor Fortinet, the incidence of mass-mailing worms has declined by 5 percent each month since the start of the year, putting the once-feared worm well below other types of attack in terms of volume.

The figures come from the company's The State of Malware report for June 2007. Viruses, spyware and software exploits have remained roughly stable in volume throughout the same period, while Trojans have been climbing since February to represent the number one threat.

Much less common mobile, IM, Linux, and non-mailed Win32 worms have all shown marked declines, albeit from relatively low levels.

The company offers a variety of explanations for the marked decline. Users are now more aware of the need to mistrust e-mailed attachments, while corporates are employing better gateway security to strip e-mails of malicious code. Another possibility is that attackers might be moving from mass-mailing techniques to targeted attacks as a better avenue to profit.

This theory is backed up by separate figures from MessageLabs published earlier this week that uncovered evidence of attacks targeting named individuals in companies. Although rare by their nature, such attacks are reckoned to have a much higher chance of success than generic mass-mailing attacks.

The age of the mass-mailing worms is not about to end, however, and could simply have entered a period during which it will decline to low levels before spiking from time to time. The best recent example of this is the Storm worm of January, which presented a high point against which worm volumes were bound to decline as the year wore on.

The unique danger of worms is their ability to spread automatically in ways that can clog bandwidth before systems can react. Because worm detection systems are now so finely tuned, such malware has to do as much of its damage in possible within the first hour of spread, after which it will be filtered aggressively by security gateways. The worm's future could increasingly be as a form of malevolent political or terrorist protest rather than as a tool of criminal profit.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E. Dunn

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?