By 1 August 2011 | Categories: news


Symantec’s latest State of spam and phishing report for this month revealed a significant increase in malware that is aggressive and that rapidly changes its form.

While one out of every 281 emails in July were identified as being malicious, the rise accounted for 23.7% of all email-borne malware intercepted; more than double the same figure six months ago, indicating a considerably more aggressive strategy on the part of the cyber-criminals. 

Paul Wood, the senior intelligence analyst for, explained that the number of variants, or different strains of malware, involved in each attack, has grown dramatically, by a factor of 25 times, when compared to the previous six months.

He added that this indicated a disturbing proliferation in such a short period. Wood elaborated that this further increased the risk profiles of many organisations, as these new strains were significantly more difficult to detect using traditional security defences.

The report further revealed that the malware was frequently contained inside an executable within an attached ZIP archive file, and often disguised as a PDF file or an office document.

Further analysis also revealed that phishing attacks have been seeking various means to exploit vulnerable cellphone users. According to Wood, two key areas in which the company saw this trend was in the increase in phishing against wireless application protocol (WAP) pages, and the use of compromised domain names that have been registered for mobile devices.

The report further highlight a 4.9% increase in spam, and a 25.5% increase in infected websites, when compared with June. This revealed a disturbing  average of 6797 websites being identified each day that contained malware and other potentially unwanted programs, including spyware and adware.



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