According to Kaspersky Lab data, the percentage of spam in email traffic was down 4.5 percentage points from September and averaged 68% – the lowest level it has been all year. The danger posed by spam, however, remains high – malicious files were found in 3.25% of all emails, a mere 0.15 percentage points less compared to the previous month.
Hot Topics in October: US Elections, Halloween and Christmas:
Early autumn saw the world’s attention focused on the most important political event in the USA – the presidential election. At the height of electioneering, spam campaigns asked users to express their opinion about who would become the next president of the United States in return for a Visa gift card worth $250. Read report.
Halloween, widely celebrated in Europe and the USA, didn’t escape the attentions of the spammers this year either. Emails in English offered lots of holiday-related goodies – designer bags, door mats, photo frames and fluorescent T-shirts. October is also the month when spammers usually start reminding everyone about the upcoming holiday season. Kaspersky Lab registered numerous Christmas and New Year-related mailings offering a variety of candies, souvenirs, tickets for festive season excursions and lots more.
Geographical Distribution of Spam Sources:
As in the previous month, China (30.7%) and the USA (27.3%) topped the rating of the most active spam distributors in October. When it comes to countries sending spam specifically to users in Europe, China’s share is even higher (53.3%), up 11.8 percentage points from September’s figure. The USA came second here too, with 13.4% (+2.7 percentage points) of all distributed spam. Italy increased its contribution of European spam flows by 3.9 percentage points compared to September, moving the country up to third place. At the same time the share of spam emanating from India declined considerably in European countries (-6 percentage points).
Top 10 sources of spam sent to European users in October 2012
The amount of phishing attacks on social networking sites decreased (-10.23 percentage points) in October which meant this category fell from first place to fourth, behind even the Search engines category. After the summer lull, October saw considerable growth in the number of attacks on financial organisations (+2.85 percentage points) and online stores and e-auctions (+5.42 percentage points). If the attacks are successful, the fraudsters behind them can get access to users’ online banking and e-payment accounts and steal their money. Users should be especially careful when making purchases online in the run-up to the holidays.
To address these issues Kaspersky Lab’s flagship consumer product Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 includes new Safe Money technology that provides users with complete protection for their online purchases and online banking transactions. More information on Safe Money can be found in this white paper.
Darya Gudkova, Head of Content Analysis & Research Kaspersky Lab
“In October the percentage of spam may have decreased, but it didn’t become any less dangerous – we saw a lot of malicious and phishing emails targeting users’ money. This will probably continue in the run-up to the Christmas and New Year holidays. Users should be especially watchful when making e-payments and entering confidential data on the Internet. Do not click links in spam emails and do not open attachments from unknown senders. Apply software updates as soon as they appear.”