Blended threats increase as malicious content grows more enterprising

Secure Computing published the company’s Q2 Internet Threat Report containing data and analysis from the Secure Computing research team. Among other findings, the report shows that while spam volume and new zombies have decreased in the past quarter, enterprises and home users are increasingly being attacked through malicious Web content and blended security attacks.

The Secure Computing report states that even though the overall spam volume is up 280 percent from Q2 2007 to Q2 2008, spam volumes have decreased by 40 percent this quarter. In addition, Q2 of 2007 witnessed over 300,000 new zombies per day, and during the second quarter of 2008 Secure saw half that amount. Even though both spam and new zombies are down this year, Secure Computing researchers point to other areas that are increasingly problematic, including:

Over 16 percent of all spam originates from the U.S., more than twice the amount of the No. 2 country, Russia.
Male enhancement, product replica and prescription drug spam hold the top three places of types of spam, proving that you can’t beat the oldies but goodies.

Swizzor, a rapidly growing ad/spyware family, now makes up more than 30 percent of all new malware in Q2 of 2008. The ZBot spyware family is another such ad/spyware family that has grown significantly this quarter. ZBot steals users’ sensitive data while establishing a backdoor on infected computers to give the attackers full control over compromised systems.

The threats challenging the enterprise today are becoming a blended variety that challenge both Email and Web security. Without integrated and correlated protection between the two, the ability to stay ahead of these threats will become increasingly difficult.

Threats are becoming more and more sophisticated as recipients of threats are better educated on what to look for. Users are more cautious and this has lead to a rise in more cunning ways to harvest personal information without users’ apparent involvement.

Spammers are continuing to use pop culture and current events (elections, Olympics) to entice end users into responding or clicking on links whose sole purpose is to download malware. The excitement over seeing a video of breaking news of an earthquake in China or the new sensational photos of your favorite celebrity can occasionally encourage even the most cautious users to open what could be suspicious mail.

Threats are and will continue to be driven by financial motivations. No matter what the threat is, or how it is delivered, the perpetrator is almost always looking for financial gain.

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