Updates

Spam

2018

The very first spam email was sent by Gary Thuerk to about 400 recipients on 3 May 1978 over the Internet’s predecessor, ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency NETwork). In April 2018, the daily average volume of spam was nearly 375 billion, according to Tallos. The original spam is a canned meat product and email 'spam' was named after a sketch from the Monty Python’s Flying Circus comedy programme. The use of the term spam expanded into other electronic communications since then. It is used for unsolicited communication in instant messaging, calls, social media, etc.

Kaspersky Lab has published a 2017 spam and phishing report. According to the report, the share of spam in e-mail traffic is down to 56.63%, having decreased by 1.68%  since 2016. The US remains the biggest source of spam (13.21%) followed by China (11.25%). However, the anti-phishing systems have identified an increase of nearly 58% of phishing attempts. The report informs a significant increase of scam pages migrating to HTTPS making it harder for users to reveal fraud.

Necurs, one of the largest known spam bot, distributed spam emails promoting an ill repute cryptocurrency named Swisscoin, reported BleepingComputer. The well-known pump & dump strategy usually used for manipulating stocks of companies has been applied in cryptocurrency environment on large scale for the first time. The actual impact is hard to measure because the first spam emails were distributed on the same day the Swisscoin currency was released for trading after more than 50 days of suspension period. The pump & dump manipulations of cryptocurrencies are not new. For example Business Insider wrote about pump & dump cryptocurrency market manipulations in November 2017.

Spamhaus Malware Labs issued block List (SBL) listings for more than 9,500 botnet Command & Control servers on 1,122 different networks in 2017. Botnet controllers play a key role in operations conducted by cybercriminals who are using infected machines to send out spam, ransomware, launch DDoS attacks, commit banking fraud, click-fraud or to mine cryptocurrencies. The report expects that that securing and protecting IoT devices will be a core topic in 2018. In conclusion Spamhaus urges registries and registrars to take their responsibility by implementing appropriate mechanisms to prevent fraudulent domain registrations.

2017

Researchers have discovered a botnet, called Onliner, that has collected 711 million email accounts used to send spam messages. An open and accessible web server storing databases of addresses, passwords and email servers for sending spam was hosted in the Netherlands, ZDNet reported. The credential emails and servers are used by spammers to avoid spam filters. Among other, this spam-bot is believed to have distributed over 100,000 unique infections of a banking malware Ursnif to inboxes around the world.

The global spam rate for July was the highest seen since March 2015, increasing to 54.9 percent, reports Symantec in its July Intelligence report. Similar proportion of spam also reports the Kaspersky lab in its Spam and phishing in Q2 2017 report, however not indicating a peak in spam traffic. Both companies use their own metrics and mostly report on spam identified by their systems. 

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