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Spam and Malicious Messages Continue to Deliver

AppRiver Guest Blogger

January 17, 2014

2 Min Read
Spam and Malicious Messages Continue to Deliver

During the last 12 months AppRiver, the cloud-based email and Web security specialist, trapped 28.3 billion spam messages in its filters—a 128 percent increase over the amount seen the previous year. While spam is irritating, it is those messages that contain malicious attachments which can prove exceptionally damaging. AppRiver’s statistics confirm this is still a popular infection vector, having quarantined just over 479 million such messages. In tandem, the company has seen a significant upward trend of malware delivered via malicious links.

The United States was once again identified as the highest "spam pusher," with 4,871,761,291 messages. Making its debut in the top 10—and going straight in at second place—was Belarus, with 2,035,771,417 messages, pushing India into third position with 1,560,528,465 messages. When looking at levels for both spam and malicious email traffic, Europe claims the top spot, responsible for 38 percent of traffic, Asia is second with 24.7 percent, closely followed by North America with 21 percent. AppRiver monitored a daily average of 4.3 million web-based malware threats during 2013.

“The fact that spam and malicious messages is on the increase is a trend that started toward the end of 2012 and shows no sign of slowing. As an illustration, in late October we began seeing a unique malware campaign that poses a threat to PC users, Android users and some IOS users alike," noted Fred Touchette, senior security analyst for AppRiver. "The messages pose as notifications from WhatsApp (a messenger available for Android and other smartphones), attempting to lure the victim with a link to a 'voice message.' Obviously, that’s not what clicking the link delivers. Instead, it installs a malicious app that secretly will send text messages to premium numbers and the victim will be left holding the tab.

"By distributing their malware in this fashion, cybercriminals can reach the masses and without having to get past app store safeguards," he continued. "We have quarantined millions of these messages over the past several months but they are still coming in, which indicates that the messages must be working to an extent that is acceptable to the sender. Vigilance is the key to preventing these messages delivering their payloads.

“As the attack surface continues to broaden through the widespread use of multiple operating systems, so will the attackers methods and vectors. While these types of attacks have traditionally targeted PC users only, we are now seeing the emergence of these cross-platform threats. We expect these to only increase in the future as cybercriminals have shown their adaptability time and time again and show no signs of relenting any time soon,“ Touchette said.

To find out more about the trends and threats witnessed during 2013 download AppRiver’s Global Security Report from its website: http://www.appriver.com/resources/global_security_report/global_security_report_EOY2013.aspx.
 
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Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly, and are part of Talkin' Cloud's annual platinum sponsorship.

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