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Kaspersky Lab reveals details of June’s spam

Steve Jobs' name was used to trick email recipients.

By Duncan Macrae

According to tech security firm Kaspersky Lab, the percentage of spam in email traffic in June rose 1.4% in June and averaged at 71.1%.

Malicious attachments were found in 1.8% of all emails, a drop of 1% compared to the previous month.

Last month, spammers actively used the name of Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder. The heading of the unsolicited email invited the recipient to get to know the secret of the famous businessman’s success, but the body of message contained an advert for free training sessions. Its organisers promised to teach everybody how to make a profitable business out of a hobby in just 90 minutes. Steve Jobs’ name was used to attract attention to the training.

In addition to the offers of training courses promising to disclose the secret of Steve Jobs’ success, in June Kaspersky Lab came across a number of spam messages offering huge discounts on Apple devices. To make the mailing look more legitimate, the scammers entered the name of the company in the ‘From’ field, though the email address has nothing to do with Apple. The authors of these emails stressed that there was a limited quantity of goods and it was essential to snap them up right away. This widespread trick was used to encourage the user to make a decision quicker and thus to click the link and order the goods.

Yet another theme exploited by spammers was offers of admission to US universities, as well as offers of online education at the user’s convenience. These emails often included links to pages with application forms for the course. Interestingly, the addresses of the web pages vary from email to email and are often created on the day the mailing is sent. This is probably how the authors of the mass mailing collect personal user data.

Tatyana Shcherbakova, senior spam analyst, Kaspersky Lab, said: "In June, spammers continued to use familiar tricks. In particular, we recorded several mass mailings advertising both conventional and electronic cigarettes where the organisers used the Google Translate service to process spam links. Moreover, the spammers added a randomly generated set of letters and names of Google domains in different languages to the end of links."

As before, a significant part of the world’s spam came from China (24%) and the US (17%). South Korea came 3rd with 14% of all distributed spam.

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South Korea remained the leading source of spam sent to European users (53.3%) – its share grew by 9.6%. The US (4.6%) and Vietnam (3.7%) moved down to 4th and 5th positions yielding to Italy (6.7%) and Taiwan (5%) respectively. Italy’s figure grew by 3.9% compared with May when this country was only 7th in the rating.

Malicious attachments were found in 1.8% of all emails. As in the previous month, the scammers often used their favourite trick – notifications sent on behalf of well-known companies.

In June, the number of attacks targeting email and IMS increased drastically, because in the summer holidays the number of email users and the users of programmes such as ICQ, Jabber, Skype, etc grows. There is substantial demand for accounts of this type on the black market, according to Kaspersky Lab, which encourages phishers to try to grab login details for them.

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