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The Deadly Duo — Spam and Viruses — October 2004

  |  November 16, 2004   |  Comments

Spam volume shows mixed growth, zombies run amok.

According email security and management vendor Postini, spam volume declined 6 percent, to 69 percent of received email in October. October spam volume marks the second month of declining spam volume, and is the lowest total of the year, according to Postini’s statistics.

Statistics from email security vendor FrontBridge paints a different picture. According to that company’s figures, spam volume increased two percent, to 87 percent of email, and has continued its growth each month since May of this year.

A Postini spokesperson told ClickZ one potential reason why a decline was noted may be due to the fact Postini quarantines messages based on end-users’ settings. "As we continue to add customers, it’s possible more of them are setting their filters slightly more leniently so as to avoid the risk of false positives," the Postini spokesperson said. "In addition, Postini currently blocks more than half of all SMTP connections it receives without even looking at the message content, based on known prior bad behaviour by the sending computer."

Postini also said that the war against spam is shifting more toward a real-time SMTP connection fight from a content filtering approach. Only 14 percent of SMTP connections received were legitimate email. Half the requests based on sender IP address were blocked.

Recent Spam Volume
Postini FrontBridge
October 2004 69% 87%
September 2004 75% 85%
August 2004 76% 82%
July 2004 75% 80%
June 2004 76% 78%
May 2004 78% 75%
April 2004 78% 76%
March 2004 77% 73%
February 2004 76% 69%
January 2004 79% 72%
Source: Postini and FrontBridge Technologies

Three out of four firms polled by ClickZ reported a Netsky variant as the top virus/malware in October. Kaspersky Labs showed Netsky variants as half of their top 10, while Trend Micro slated them at 60 percent. Both Panda Software and Trend Micro report October was a relatively quiet period in terms of outbreaks. Trend Micro and Postini both noted growth of ’bot zombie networks that not only compromise a user’s PC, but also serve as a launch pad for distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

Top 10 Ranking Virus/Malware from Postini,
Panda Software, Kaspersky Labs, and Trend Micro
Kaspersky Panda Trend Micro Postini
I-Worm.Netsky.q Trj/Downloader.GK Worm_Netsky.P netsky
I-Worm.Netsky.aa Mhtredir.gen PE_Zafi.b mime
I-Worm.Netsky.b W32/Mabutu.A.worm HTML_Netsky.P bagle
I-Worm.Bagle.as W32/Netsky.P.worm Worm_Netsky.D zafi
I-Worm.Bagle.z W32/Gaobot.gen.worm PE_FunLove.4099 bankfraud
I-Worm.Mydoom.m W32/Sasser.ftp Java_Bytever.a zerolin
I-Worm.Bagle.at Trj/StartPage.FH Worm_Netsky.B mydoom
I-Worm.Zafi.b Trj/Qhost.gen Worm_Netsky.C lovgate
I-Worm.Netsky.t Trj/Downloader.OU Worm.Anig.A dumaru
I-Worm.Netsky.d W32/Sdbot.gen.worm Worm.Netsky.Q klez
Source: Kaspersky Labs, Panda Software, Trend Micro and Postini.

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