Feeds

Spamty Claus is coming to town

Inboxes to be spam-slammed over holiday season

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Spammers are set for a Christmas bonanza this year as they take advantage of the holiday season to send out more nuisance email.

Although statistics for spam email landing in Irish inboxes won't be released until January, experts are predicting we could see a surge in the proportion of junk email that businesses need to filter out of their inboxes.

Ken O'Driscoll of monitoring firm IE Internet says holiday seasons are prime time for spammers who take advantage of the fact that most network administrators have a break over Christmas. "Spammers know it's a holiday for most of the western world," he said. "There aren't as many system administrators in organisations to monitor what's going on."

IE Internet provides a filtering service for Irish businesses. Last year, it flagged almost 39 per cent of email as unwanted junk in December. However, the rate has steadily risen since then - although a couple of months saw spam rates fall slightly in the summer - and has remained above the 40 per cent mark all year.

This means that spammers could use vulnerable systems to send on their junk email for longer than usual, as with the system administrators celebrating the festive season, there are fewer eyes watching what is going on.

December's statistics may also be somewhat skewed, O'Driscoll said, with fewer business emails being sent during the month. This would make the percentage of spam email filtered by the firm for its clients rise artificially.

However, there is definitely an increase in the amount of spam being sent out. O'Driscoll said the percentage of spam IE Internet has picked up on behalf of its clients has stayed in the 45-50 per cent range for much of the year. "Spam has definitely been increasing," he said. "This year, we went over the 50 per cent mark a number of times."

This rise is in spite of a number of moves against spammers during 2006, including better filtering processes, stronger legal measures and some high profile anti-spam prosecutions. It seems there is little else that companies can do to stem the ever-rising tide of spam, aside from keeping their security software up-to-date and their systems patched to ensure that they don't become an unwitting accomplice to spammers.

There is still some way to go before Ireland catches up with the US though - some 90 per cent of mail in the region is spam, according to O'Driscoll.

Another problem facing system administrators is the trend for sending Christmas cards electronically. While this may seem like the easiest way to pass on seasons' greetings, it can block up email systems, causing a headache for IT staff.

So while the rest of the office is off enjoying the festive season, it seems that system administrators will have their work cut out for them on their return.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.