Spammers Step Up Their Efforts in May

Computer users have been warned to redouble their vigilance against spam attacks and phishing attempts in a report from internet security experts Symantec.

In the company’s monthly MessageLabs Intelligence report, it warned that May saw a rise in spam phishing and virus attacks disseminated via email. It said that the global volume of spam as a proportion of total email from previously unrecorded services had increased by 0.3 per cent in May to 90 per cent.

When it came to phishing attempts, global activity had risen to one in every 237.1 emails, which represented a 0.2 per cent increase. Once again, the country with the largest number of phishing emails was the UK. Within Britain, one in every 121.8 emails was sent out by cybercriminals intent on stealing personal information.

However, the biggest increase in danger came from websites which had been created to harbour malware. Symantec said that it had recorded the largest jump in the number of new such sites – with 1,770 identified in May, which is 5.6 per cent more than were identified in April.

The company went on to issue a special warning concerning malware attacks during the World Cup, after intercepting one of the first.

Symantec intercepted an email written in Portuguese that appeared to have emanated from one of the football tournament’s sponsors – although it had originally been sent from China. The company’s senior analyst Paul Wood said: “Once downloaded and activated, the malware produces files that generate pop-up messages, and collects information on other machines on the same network, giving the attacker further access to the compromised computer.”

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