Spam bigger web threat than viruses

Link: Businesses to sue over spam abuse

Monthly reports for March from anti-virus companies show that while virus activity is experiencing single digit growth, spam is growing at between 10% and 30% and now accounts for nearly half (one in every 2.8) of all email.

‘Spam certainly is getting to be the major issue,’ said Paul Wood, information analyst at MessageLabs.

‘Whereas a virus infection costs a lot they tend to be isolated occurrences; spam is like death by a thousand cuts, once you factor in the cost of bandwidth, storage and administration. Analysts are predicting that half of email will be spam by the end of the year – we reckon that’ll happen within the next three months.’

Over one in 400 spam emails monitored by the company had pornographic content enclosed. The most common attachments were .JPG, with .GIF files coming in third.

Predictions that the outbreak of hostilities would bring a flood of virus activity from the Middle East have failed to materialise.

Although the Ganda worm did use the war as a social engineering technique it was relatively ineffective.

‘We’ve seen a little rise but none of the deep cyber-terrorism that gets people worried,’ said Jack Clark, analyst at Network Associates.

‘Most of the activity has been based around web site defacements and denial of service attacks. The virus writing community seems to be sitting this one out.’

But there is also little evidence that businesses are updating anti-virus definitions as often as they should. Klez is still the most common virus and has topped the charts all year.

Related reading

HMRC banknotes