Feeds

Virus infections drop, spam on the up

Spam deluge eclipses virus email threat

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The number of viruses hitting Irish inboxes has fallen but spam continues to rise, according to figures from IE Internet.

The Irish email monitoring firm found that the rate of virus infection in the mails that it filtered for its customers fell to 11.65 per cent in September. This reverses the brief rise seen in August 2006, when the rate of infection rose to 15.15 per cent.

The Mytob virus is still heading the pack, responsible for 40.52 per cent of infected mail, while Zafi.B is in second place, and Netsky.P in third position. However, IE Internet chief technology officer Ken O'Driscoll pointed out that these viruses have been around for some time.

This indicates that the blame for many of the viruses comes from older, inadequately protected machines that may have no anti-virus software or updated patches, and users may be unaware of their vulnerability. "The viruses we stop are coming from home installations," said O'Driscoll, speaking with ENN.

This could also explain the current spam surge, which reached a significant 53.2 per cent of the emails filtered by IE Internet during September.

The US was still at the top of the spam tables, generating 44.13 per cent of the spam filtered by IE Internet. This was followed by the Republic of Korea, with 13.75 per cent. The UK snuck in at the end of the top six, responsible for a little over nine per cent of the spam mails.

"This is the third time this year the spam rate has exceeded 50 per cent," said O'Driscoll. "It's pretty significant to say that 50 per cent of the emails Irish businesses are receiving is spam."

O'Driscoll explained that spammers often pay virus writers to use the network of zombie computers created by virus infections to distribute their spam. However, even reducing the number of virus infections is no guarantee that the spam rate would drop, he said, adding that shutting down one avenue would simply encourage spammers to exploit other things.

O'Driscoll pointed out that the best weapon in the fight against spam is education, rather than simply relying on legislation or technology to deal with the problem. People are continuing to buy products advertised in spam emails, he said.

Legislating against spammers has simply encouraged them to add an extra anonymous layer to their business, using unsuspecting users to distribute the mail unknowingly, O'Driscoll concluded.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.