Automated spam translation keeps global spam rates near 90%

While spam levels globally remain at a two-year high of approximately 90 percent, some European countries are seeing levels of over 95%. According to a new MessageLabs report, countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands are being heavily targeted by spammers with automated spam translation techniques.

The use of automated translation services enables multiple language spam runs and is responsible for a 13% increase in spam levels in these countries since May. Local-language spam is now one in every 20 spam messages globally, accounting for 53% of spam in France, 46% in Germany and 25% in the Netherlands.

The U.S. is NOT off the hook this month – 86% of all emails sent in the U.S. are spam. Cyber criminals took advantage of three main techniques in July:

  • Spammers recycle malware: Only 0.7% of all web-based malware intercepted in July was new, compared with 58.8% in June. Previously-used malware is being widely distributed to new websites, reaching a nine-month high of 3,618 sites.
  • URL-shortened spam: URL-shortening services are abuzz with popularity as character restrictions lead users to their services. This useful service is proving to be a dangerous breeding ground for malicious activity – reaching an all-time peak of 6.2% of all Spam in July – with the Donbot botnet dominating as the main culprit to blame.
  • Michael Jackson spam – Spammers used Michael Jackson’s death as their topic of choice in July – at one point accounting for 1% of all spam – but they didn’t stop there. Michael Jackson’s death also spurred new malware threats and advance fee fraud scams which could lead to, for example, the deployment of a Brazilian banking Trojan.

The full MessageLabs Intelligence Report is available for download here.

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