The amount of spam sent out increased dramatically over the past 12 months, according to the “2004 E-mail Security Trends and 2005 Predictions” report released by e-mail security services provider MessageLabs. The company’s statistics, based on observations of millions of e-mails, show that the average percentage of e-mail identified as spam in 2004 was 73 percent, compared with 40 percent the year before. The report also covers issues like compliance and phishing attacks.
“We scan globally,” said Paul Wood, information security analyst at MessageLabs. The company has a wide variety of clients, including the British government, the Bank of New York and the Computer Sciences Corp. “We’re looking purely at e-mail traffic. At the moment, we’re scanning about 19 million e-mails per day, and that’s every day, including weekends. Based on that huge volume of data that we have, we can analyze the patterns and trends, particularly in viruses and spam contained within e-mails.”
The MessageLabs report showed an upsurge in the number of spam e-mails sent that started in April and peaked in July, when a 1 to 1.1 ratio (about 94.5 percent) of spam to total e-mail was sent. Wood explained that this was due largely to the disguising tactics used by spammers to get around the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. “The (spam) e-mails we were intercepting had changed and were dressed up to appear compliant with the legislation,” he said. “What we’re seeing is that the spam e-mails are being made to appear legitimate, although…
Please log in or subscribe to read this article