Hackers debut spam and virus sandwich
Stock spam points to drive-by download
Hackers have combined spam and malware together in a single email threat.
Email security services firm MessageLabs has intercepted emails that are both spam and links to download viruses. Cyber-criminals have long used email viruses to create botnets to send spam, but this is the first time MessageLabs has seen virus links hidden within spam.
Since 14 April, MessageLabs has stopped thousands of spam stock pump-and-dump emails which also contained links to websites hosting malware. Purporting to be a screen saver, the malware then drops the Zhelatin MeSpam engine onto compromised PCs.
Mark Sunner, chief security analyst at MessageLabs, commented: "Why use two emails when just one will do? Now we are seeing the bad guys layer on the threats – as if it's not enough to just scam someone and fill their inbox with junk email, why not also infect and take control of their computer at the same time."
"HTTP has replaced SMTP [email] as the path of least resistance," he added.
Large scale virus outbreaks have almost become a thing of the past - hackers have increasingly sought to trick users into visiting websites containing malicious code rather than open infectious email attachments. This means that even as spam volumes increase, the volume of malware contaminated email is dropping.
MessageLabs reckons 83.6 per cent of email traffic circulating the internet in April was spam. Meanwhile, the global ratio of viruses in email traffic - from new and previously unknown bad sources destined for valid recipients - was one in 145.5 (0.69 percent), a decrease of 0.003 percent since March.
Email-based attacks are becoming more targeted. Last month MessageLabs intercepted 716 emails in 249 separate targeted attacks aimed at 216 different organisations. Of these, almost 200 were one-on-one targeted attacks where the tailored attack comprised a single email designed to infiltrate an organisation. Infected PowerPoint files are becoming almost as common as infected Word files. By comparison, only one or two such email attacks per day were recorded in the same period last year. ®
Not really a first....
To Quote "Hackers have combined spam and malware together in a single email threat."
Come now, spam emails containing links to either executables or sites hosting malware have been around for quite some time now. It may be a first in pump and dump spam but it's hardly new now is it?? If you were to do an article on every single variation on each and every spam message/tactic then you would need an entire new site to report it on so why single this minor variation out??? Not newsworthy!
To Quote "Large scale virus outbreaks have almost become a thing of the past"
Not for lack of trying! Blaster fairly rocked the planet when it came out, I remember seeing people dropping like flys within 30 minutes of the virus being released, believe me because I know who released it, the million dollar question ey, and not that fat chubby boy in the States... However, other than a few other big scale threats shortly after, there simply has not been an exploit which could cause such wide spread infection - each and every new exploit published has been used to a modicum of success but none have caused large scale outbreaks./infection . We know this because it has not happened, yes there have been plenty of warnings but did they come to much? No.. So what people are doing now is adapting to the fact, they are doing smaller targeted spam runs of viruses where they get a higher rate of infection than large scale spams which need more resources for a lower infection percentage.
It's a waiting game - as soon as a decent exploit is published it will be used and we shall have tens of thousands of new 16 year old bot herders ddosing every website they can yet again..