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March 22, 2011

Play.com makes official statement on security breach

by Darren Allan
As we reported this morning, when we first checked our email we were delighted to see a missive from Play.com regarding a security breach which might well have delivered our name and email address (along with many others) to spammers. Fortunately, we've not had any spam through on our account today, and fingers crossed the same will be ...

March 17, 2011

Rustock botnet dries up once more

by Darren Allan
The Rustock botnet has apparently gone offline – or been derailed. Botnets are responsible for the vast majority of spam which clogs up inboxes across the world, and Rustock is a major offender. Spam levels dropped hugely at Christmas, when Rustock and several other botnets took a holiday along with everyone else. And now it seems Rustock has unexpectedly gone quiet ...

February 17, 2011

Norton Cybercrime Index launched

by Darren Allan
Symantec has announced the launch of the Norton Cybercrime Index. The NCI (let's acronym it, sounds even more high-powered then) provides consumers around the globe with an at-a-glance warning system of current online security threats. It lists elements such as the day's most dangerous websites, top current scams, incidents of identity theft, spam, and indeed the most-hijacked search terms cyber-criminals ...

January 19, 2011

Sophos points to social networking threats

by Darren Allan
Security firm Sophos has released its annual Security Threat Report, detailing what happened in the world of malware and phishing in 2010. One of the most interesting discoveries is the continual increase in scams targeted at social networks, a pretty inevitable upsurge given the huge popularity of Facebook. Sophos questioned social network users as to whether they had experienced spam, ...

January 10, 2011

Global spam levels witness a resurgence

by Darren Allan
Last week, security firm Symantec noted a large and continued drop in spam levels since Christmas. Spam levels were at 75 billion messages a day worldwide at the start of December, and on Christmas day 2010, they more than halved to 30 billion. And the big spam freeze continued throughout the new year, with numbers flatlining at that level ...

January 6, 2011

Spam levels dropped at Christmas

by Darren Allan
Global spam levels have plummeted over the last couple of weeks, according to one security firm. Symantec has been keeping a close watch on spam levels, which dropped like turkeys over the Christmas period. In fact, Symantec reckons there were 200 billion spam messages flying around in August of last year, which steadily dropped to around 75 billion at the ...

December 16, 2010

Gawker hack prompts widespread password changes

by Darren Allan
The hack at Gawker Media earlier this week, which exposed some 1.3 million user names, emails and passwords, has caused quite a stir. While the passwords were encrypted, a good deal of them were easily brute forced, as security firm Duo Security illustrated by the use of simple cracking tools. They quickly cracked a third of the passwords spilled, ...

November 23, 2010

m00p hacker jailed for 18 months

by Darren Allan
Last month Matthew Anderson, a key player in the “m00p” cyber-criminal ring, pleaded guilty to causing unauthorised modification to the content of computers. He'd used literally millions of spam mails to infect computers with malware written to slip under the radar of anti-virus products. He could then control the infected computers, stripping data from them, and using webcams to ...

October 26, 2010

Reputable retail sites spam customers

by Janet Harris
Online shopping is set to rise over Christmas and most people believe they will be safe if they stick to shopping on sites with well-known names. However, this isn’t the case, according to spam monitoring firm Spam Ratings, which reports that 10 per cent of sites are spamming visitors with unsolicited emails. The most worrying trend identified by ...

October 25, 2010

Scottish spam malware cyber-criminal pleads guilty

by Darren Allan
A Scottish man who was apparently a key player in a cyber-criminal ring that went under the name of “m00p” has pleaded guilty to causing unauthorised modification to the content of computers at Southwark Crown Court in London on Friday. His arrest was the culmination of an e-crime investigation by the Metropolitan Police and Finnish authorities into an international ...

October 24, 2010

10% of UK websites guilty of spamming visitors

by Darren Allan
Research conducted by the Spam Ratings site has shown that one in ten UK websites hit their visitors with “dangerous and malicious” spam. The study took place over the course of a year and involved monitoring some 10,000 websites and 150,000 emails. The volume of dangerous spam more than doubled over the year to September 30th 2010. Of the 10% ...

August 25, 2010

UK moves up to fourth in world spam league

by Darren Allan
The UK is on its way up in the world, but unfortunately, the particular global league which we're leaping and bounding up is the one that measures a nation's spam output. These were the findings of anti-virus experts Symantec in the company's just published MessageLabs Intelligence Report for August. This found that the UK has doubled its spam levels ...

Symantec reports increase in UK spam

by Janet Harris
The latest report from Symantec Hosted Services lists the UK as one of the top four countries in terms of the highest volume of spam sent from infected PCs. Spam sent from the UK almost doubled in August according to Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence report, to account for 4.5 per cent of the spam sent globally. The amount of spam sent ...

July 15, 2010

UK races up the spam charts

by Darren Allan
The amount of spam coming from the UK is increasing, with the country moving up the league table of spammers which is kept by security firm Sophos. The USA is top of the chart for April to June 2010, with 15.2% of spam originating from there, which is up a fair bit on the 13.1% Sophos reported in their ...

July 7, 2010

Google fixes YouTube spam issue

by David Allen
The user generated content site YouTube has been forced to sort out an issue that has allowed hackers to launch fake pop up messages designed to take the user to an adult related site. Code had been placed within the section reserved for comments and when the viewer watched the video a pop up appeared with a fake news ...

June 30, 2010

Network Box reports increase in virus production from Russia

by Janet Harris
Virus production from Russia is on the up again, after a temporary decline last month when Russian hosting service, PROXIEZ-NET – notoriously used by criminal gangs – was taken down in early May. This is according to analysis of internet threats in June, by managed security company, Network Box. Russia is now responsible for 7.4 per cent of the world’s malware, and ...

June 8, 2010

Facebook deactivation email scam warning

by David Allen
As there has been a lot of activity with Facebook users wanting to delete their accounts over privacy concerns, there is a warning that criminals may be using this as a way to fool users into thinking that their account is about to be deleted. According to security experts Sunbelt Software, there is an email doing the rounds which ...

May 11, 2010

Spam should be deleted

by David Allen
Businesses and IT managers should make sure they are deleting spam on a regular basis according to Rik Ferguson, a senior security technician with the security and software firm Trend Micro. It is being suggested that users who see emails with the look and feel of spam should hit the delete button immediately and not even take the chance ...

April 29, 2010

America top of spam table, UK is ninth

by Darren Allan
So where does most of the world's spam come from? From Minnesota in America, actually. Home of the Hormel Foods Corporation who make the dubiously coloured and textured meat product we all know and, er, know. (It's coming back in fashion though – thanks recession!). But America is also the biggest producer of the electronic variety of spam that arrives ...

April 20, 2010

Cybercrime grows despite economic slowdown

by Janet Harris
Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today released its new Internet Security Threat Report volume XV, which highlights key trends in cybercrime from Jan.1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2009. In a year bookended by two very prominent Cyber attacks – Conficker in the opening months of the year and Hydraq at the very end – Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report reveals continued growth ...

March 24, 2010

Twitter brings down the hammer on spammers

by Darren Allan
The head twits at Twitter are very pleased with themselves, announcing on the site's official blog that they've been successfully tackling the age old issue of spam. Spam was first invented by a Monty Python sketch, set in a cafe where it was the major repeated constituent of the menu. Since then spam has gone on to terrorise both ...

September 30, 2009

Symantec says botnets produce 88% of spam

by Darren Allan
According to a report published yesterday by Symantec's MessageLabs, botnets are now responsible for sending 87.9% of spam. One of the most prolific offenders is the botnet Rustock, which has experienced something of a recent upsurge in activity. It is responsible for 10% of spam by itself – so now you have a name to curse when you receive ...

August 17, 2009

Yahoo spam free email, for a price

by Alan Harten
For those who are tired of fighting the war against spam, Yahoo has announced the creation of a new email service that requires payment in order to avoid spam messages. The new service is called CentMail and allows users to buy virtual stamps at the rate of a penny a stamp. All of the sales profits from the stamps will then be ...

August 14, 2009

TwitBlock blocks (most) Twitter spammers

by David Masters
A new website launched this week helps Twitter users identify and block spammers. "TwitBlock aims to raise awareness, and hopefully educate Twitter users about how to avoid falling foul of cons and phishing traps," founders of the service said. TwitBlock (whoever thought up that name was truly inspired) checks your followers' biography against spammy words, and also works out how other Twitter ...

July 31, 2009

Ninety two per cent of all email is SPAM

by David Allen
It has been found that ninety two per cent of all email is now Spam according to research carried out by the computer security firm McAfee, which has claimed that the growth of Spam in the past three months is cause for concern. During the month of June, it was found that ...

July 29, 2009

Malware down but SPAM on the up

by Alan Harten
Symantec MessageLabs Intelligence’s latest report looks bright at first glance as it appears malware writers are laying low on the internet. Spammers, on the other hand, have increased their efforts by venturing into multi-lingual messages that seem to work out disastrously, or well, depending on whose side you are on. Symantec reported that spam levels are higher than they have been in ...

July 22, 2009

US is world's SPAM capital

by Alan Harten
Sophos, a security firm, announced that the United States produces the most spam on the internet, holding the country accountable for 15.6% of all the spam that was retrieved between April and June of 2009. Roughly this means that one out of every six spam emails originated in the United States. Following close behind the United States in the spam accountability study ...

July 21, 2009

US is the world’s top spammer

by David Allen
When there is any mention of spam and spammers, normally it is Russia and China that spring to mind as being the main culprits for this menace, but according the security company Sophos this may not be the case any longer. The figures for the second quarter of 2009 show that the US holds top spot in the ...

June 9, 2009

E-scams and phishing hit record levels

by David Masters
A record number of internet users have been targeted by online scammers in the last 12 months. Over three quarters (77%) of Brits have been targeted by phishing emails, whilst seven in ten have received bogus pleas for money. Two thirds (67%) have been told they've won a competition only to discover that it was a scam designed to steal personal details. Fraudsters ...

May 8, 2009

Empty emails bypass spam filters

by David Allen
Spam filters have done a great job in stopping lots of spam from getting into the computer user's inbox. Most computer users have spam filters and although some spam may get through, a vast amount of spam is blocked. Yet spammers are forever playing around with methods and security firm Symantec has discovered that they may have found a way ...

January 26, 2009

Emails reach 210 billion per day

by David Allen
According to recent research by the website performance business Pingdom, last year there were two hundred and ten billion emails sent each and every day to internet users located all around the world. This staggering figure looks even more spectacular when it is considered that there are only just under one and half billion email users around the world. ...

January 12, 2009

Spam levels on the rise again

by David Allen
When the US-based hosting company McColo was closed down, the levels of spam being delivered to inboxes fell by as much as seventy per cent, which by any standards had to be a good result. However, that was back in November and the level of spam being sent out and received is currently at eighty per cent of the ...

December 15, 2008

Oz government told to block malware

by David Masters
Security services provider Finjan has endorsed plans by the Australian government that will see blocks put on websites which contain illegal content. The nationwide web filtration system will force Internet service providers (ISPs) to block thousands of sites on the world-wide web. "The game plan is for Australian ISPs to be mandated to block access to websites containing illegal content such as ...

December 9, 2008

'Tis the season to be spammy

by David Masters
The internet security industry is bracing itself to tackle a deluge of spam in the run up to Christmas. Managed security firm, Network Box, reported sighting a number of 'test' spam emails over the weekend - usually the first step in a widespread spam campaign. Simon Heron, Internet Security Analyst at Network Box, said: “This is usually a sign that a spammer is ...

November 28, 2008

Spam levels set to rise

by David Allen
Anyone who has been getting huge amounts of spam for a long time may have noticed that there has been a reduction in spam messages, but this is not because of the filters that block spam, it is rather more subtle than that. Recently an internet service provider called McColo was closed down. This happened because there were reasons ...

November 13, 2008

Icesave emails blocked

by David Allen
As if losing all their savings when the Icelandic banks went into administration a few weeks ago was not bad enough, it seems that their internet service providers are blocking essential emails detailing how they can claim their savings back, because they are being seen as spam. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) are currently in negotiation with the ...

September 29, 2008

Cities get off lightly for Spam

by David Allen
Spam or junk emails have been around for so long now that it has almost become second nature that emails and spam go hand in hand, but in reality it should not be like that and to make things worse, according to a recent survey, some places are more likely to get spam than others. The Top Ten places ...

September 5, 2008

IP in massive blog spam run

by Brian Turner
IP has been really hammering out the blog spam over the past week. The reach is quite surprising - it's taking it's toll out on popular blogs but also little used blogs we monitor. According to a WHOIS check, it appears is assigned to Uruguay: OrgName: Latin American and Caribbean IP address Regional Registry OrgID: ...

September 2, 2008

Why so much spam?

by David Allen
'Why is there so much spam?' is a question which has probably been asked millions of times by internet users and another question asked is 'why me?' Well the first question is related to the second, as recent research has found that the amount of spam received in the inbox is directly related to the first letter of the ...

August 20, 2008

Spam sent by millions of zombies

by David Allen
It is estimated that around three quarters of all email is now spam, but it is worth thinking about how this spam is being sent in the first place. Spammers are hijacking huge networks of computers, these can be in homes or businesses, they are not fussy but once recruited into the cyber criminal’s network they become one ...

August 8, 2008

Worst ISP for Spam

by David Allen
According to research undertaken by ClearMyMail, the anti spam Software Company, customers of Orange UK find that 96.9% of all received emails are made up of spam, which is a truly incredible amount of junk mail to be receiving. Mistral Internet came in a close second with 94.4% of spam. It is ...

July 28, 2008

The iPhone open to phishers

by David Allen
Probably one of the last things that a new iPhone user wants to hear are the words vulnerability and malicious websites. However, according to researchers there is indeed a vulnerability within the iPhone's email programme and the Safari web browser. Both applications are said to open to phishers who can fool the ...

July 18, 2008

Business emails nearly all spam

by David Allen
It is an astonishing figure that only one in every twenty eight emails received by businesses are legitimate, and it goes without saying that this can be a real pain to the people in charge of dealing with emails for the company. In a report by the IT security firm, Sophos, that is published every quarter, spam sent to ...

June 23, 2008

Brian Czarny joins Webroot

by Alan Harten
Webroot, provider of security software for consumers, enterprise and SME markets, today announced the appointment of Brian Czarny as Vice President of Solutions Marketing. Czarny will be involved in advancing Webroot's innovations in the security software as a service (SaaS) market by leading product management and product marketing. "With malware threats growing 500% year over year and every business e-mail inbox expected ...

May 27, 2008

ISPs exposed in Top 10 Spam list

by David Allen
The anti spam software producer, Clearmymail has been doing a lot of research recently into who are the ISPs most targeted by spam, virus infected and phishing emails, not necessarily in that order, but all serious to the end user. However many ISPs maintain that they take their customers' security very seriously, but spam is obviously still a serious ...

May 9, 2008

PineApp Release App To Battle Zombie Networks

by Rohan Parker
According to a statement released by PineApp, the company has created a new application, titled ZombiCop, which will combat the increasing amount of spam delivered from zombie computers. This new method of spam has proved almost immune to the current anti-virus and anti-botnet software, however ISPs should now stand a better chance with the creation of ZombiCop. A zombie computer, or server, ...

May 2, 2008

Happy Birthday …. SPAM

by Alan Harten
A birthday not too many people around the world will be celebrating on Saturday 3rd May is the 30th anniversary of the birth of that not so beautiful child SPAM. Back on that day in 1978 nearly 400 employees of a company called Arpanet all received the same annoying email from DEC or Digital Equipment Corporation, and the rest as they ...

May 1, 2008

my-investment.com on spam run

by Brian Turner
A lot of forum spam promoting my-investment.com at present. The user signs up, then simply copy/pastes the same reply into a string of threads, ie: Hi everyone, Thank you very much! Very helpful interestingly to know. They then post an advert for my-investment.com. Spammer details: email address: joe.ncls@gmail.com IP: One to add to your spam filters. :)

February 26, 2008

'Out of office' messages converted into spam relays

by Dave Nixon
Spammers have created a new deception that circumvents many existing anti-spam filters: exploitating the "out of the office" auto-respond feature found in legitimate webmail services. Security firm McAfee has encountered numerous instances of the trick, the company said this week. The spammer initially signs up for a legitimate webmail account, turning on its auto-respond feature, with the spam text in place of ...

February 14, 2008

Russia Develops into Spam Superpower

by Dave Nixon
Russia may be a nation attempting to recapture superpower standing, but it has already accomplished it in one less welcome area, the quantity of spam it distributes to the world. According to Sophos’s Q4 2007 spam report, the country now warrants the name of ‘spam superpower’ having witnessed its contribution to of overall volumes climb considerably over the last year, placing ...