Spam Plunges While Attacks Rise

By Laura Spadanuta

The good news is that e-mail spam nosedived in 2010. The bad news is that search engine malware and Twitter crime has taken off. The information is reported in the newly released 2010 Annual Security Report released by Barracuda Labs.

E-mail spam attacks remained above 50 billion attempts a month for much of the first half of 2010, but took a plunge at the end of the year, with December hitting a low of about 26 billion e-mails. According to the report, pharmaceutical and jewelry e-mails led the spam attempts.

While spam dropped, other attacks targeting Internet users increased. The daily levels of malware increased 55 percent in the second half of the year, according to the Barracuda Report. The report found that one in five search engine topics returned malware. Among the leading search terms that led directly to malware were music and video, which were the top malware-getters, followed by jennie and j-woww, referencing a character on the television show "Jersey Shore."

Google is no longer the lone major search engine threat for malware, according to the report.

"In June, Google was found to contain 69 per cent of the search engine malware," Computer News states. "By December, that number decreased to 38 per cent, showing that attackers have not only increased the amount of overall search engine malware but are also targeting a wider variety of search engines."

Besides Google, Barracuda analyzed results from Bing, Twitter and Yahoo. Twitter attacks were also on the increase, experiencing a 20 percent spike in crime over the year. Twitter crime is classified as the percentage of accounts created each month that are eventually suspended.


♦ Graphic by buggolo/Flickr


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