infoTECH Feature

April 16, 2009

Conficker Worm Is Expected to Increase Spam

Commtouch recently released the Q1 2009 Internet Threat Trends Report, where it stated that the next quarter could witness a meaningful rise in spam levels due to computers infected by the Conficker worm.
Since appearing on the scene in November 2008, the Conficker worm is said to have infected more than 15 million computers, creating a huge zombie botnet. The botnet did nothing for weeks, and only in the last days leading up to the publication of this report did it begin to be activated for malicious purposes, says Commtouch (News - Alert) in its report.
With 28 percent in the first quarter, loan spam shot to the top of the list of top spam topics, and Commtouch says this may be reflective of the global economic situation. The new, more complex phishing attacks targeted users of social networking sites. The report states that computers/technology sites and search engines/portals are among the top ten Web site categories infected with malware and/or have been manipulated by phishing
“To block the flood of spam that the massive botnet created by the Conficker worm is capable of sending, new spam detection methods beyond traditional content filtering must be employed,” said Amir Lev, chief technology officer of Commtouch. “Detection based on analysis of patterns is the best tool to block massive spam attacks as these patterns will be created in seconds.”
According to the report, Brazil produced nearly 14 percent of active zombies for the quarter and continues to lead in zombie computer activity. Throughout the quarter, spam levels averaged 72 percent of all email traffic and peaked at 96 percent of all email messages in early January. To carry out their malicious activities, hackers created an average of 302,000 zombies each day, states the report.
Recently, Anchiva Systems, a China-based provider of Web security gateways selected Commtouch to integrate Commtouch GlobalView URL Filtering into its Secure Web Gateway (News - Alert) solutions. Anchiva said it selected Commtouch URL filtering technology because its cloud architecture offers high accuracy and zero hour security coverage. The company's Secure Web Gateway features anti-malware technology, URL filtering, and also Internet application control.

Raju Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raju’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

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