Literally, within a few month’s time, millions of computers around the world are infected with some form of malware. Computer malware, or what may be categorized as spam, spyware or viruses by many, has always been among the most hated things in today’s fast-paced and Internet-connected world. In the latest analysis by a researcher team at German email security specialist, Eleven (www.eleven.de), it was discovered that there was a significant rise in the distribution of unwelcomed emails and malware in the first half of 2012.
Security researchers are witnessing a stark trend in the U.S. where it is now in 6th place on the list for the top 10 spam senders in the world. Last year, the U.S. managed to stay off of the list. One of the key contributing trends is the uprise of spam, phishing and malware campaigns specifically targeted to certain areas of the world.
Top Spam Countries June 2012 (source: eleven Research)
Studies have shown that there is over a 50% increase in spam and malware outbreaks for the second quarter of 2012. Moreover, there was an astonishing 90% increase in virus outbreaks during the same period.
Spam Volume June 2012 (source: eleven Research)
With such a drastic change in the spread of malware recently, security researchers are working overtime in attempting to get to the root of the issues considering how numerous botnets were shut down in the past two years. Many of these botnets shut down over the course of the past two years were responsible for sending out massive amounts of spam emails to various regions around the world.
Western countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany are some of the few beating many for sending out the most spam. A significant comeback among spam sending rings has emerged after the shutdown of Rustock botnet in early 2011. Rustock botnet was responsible for more than 40 percent of the worlds spam at one time.
Spam Share June 2012 (source: eleven Research)
The current data suggests that botnet operators have been exceptionally successful with replacing shutdown botnets. The existence of new botnets is inevitable and on a perpetual increase by the looks of the latest observed volume of spam by researchers.
Probably the most shocking statistic to come out of the recent Eleven report is an astounding growth rate of phishing jumping 169.9% in the first quarter of 2012. The first half of 2012 is a time to put in the history books representing a high point for event-related spam campaigns. Many of these campaigns are more region targeted than before. The focus is on regional factors such as events and news. As an example, the current 2012 London Olympics are used as bait for phishing campaigns for European areas for the most popular campaigns consisting of fake lotteries. Another expected increase within a specific type of spam campaign, is job-related messages. Economic conditions are partially to blame for the particular increase on job spam, with pharmaceutical trailing not far behind.
Top Spam Topics June 2012 (source: eleven Research)
The second half of 2012 will bring a conclusion to certain malware trends helping researchers to decipher future outbreaks. If we can take anything from the recent rise in unwelcomed malware, it is to educate yourself on the latest threats and take proactive measures to protect your computer.