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BizReport : Email Marketing : May 28, 2010

MessageLabs: Botnets on rise in Africa

Spam isn't taking a holiday in the upcoming summer season. According to the latest information from MessageLabs, spam is just getting started. The new report finds that 90% of all email is now spam, more botnets are getting set in Africa and malware is now focusing on the upcoming Soccer World Cup events. Here is the break-down.

by Kristina Knight

MessageLabs finds:

• 90.1% of email is now spam, an increase of 0.2% since April
• 1 in every 211 emails now has a virus
• 1 in every 237 emails is a phishing scam
• 90% of spam messages also have a hyperlink or URL
• Roughly 5 Autonomous System Numbers (ASN's, basically network identifiers) are used for 40% of spam domains

These hyperlinks and URLs within spam messages are some of the most detrimental to consumers, who may not realize from the shortened URL or the Typo-URL that they're actually clicking through to a fraudulent company intent on harming them.

The big story, though, is Africa. MessageLabs found that spam from Africa increased by a full percentage point, likely due to the fact that African's are getting faster Internet connections now. A new higher speed cable connection, laid in the ocean earlier this year, will connect Eastern African countries faster than ever.

Fraudsters are also taking advantage of the upcoming World Cup even in Soccer. With global eyes trained on Soccer favorites and logging on to the Internet for more information on their favorite players, fraudsters are hoping to capitalize by using the event to spread malware.

"About 80% of the African population lacks even rudimentary knowledge of information technologies, according to a recent World Bank survey," said Franz-Stefan Gady, an organizer of a major cyber security summit (via "Though Internet cafes are widespread, providers often cannot afford proper antivirus software, making computers very easy targets for skilled botnet operators and hackers."

In April 2009 roughly 2% of the world's spam originated in Africa; now 3% originates in Africa. With 120 billion spam messages sent daily, the number coming from Africa represents an additional 1.2 billion spam messages in the online sphere each day.

Tags: email marketing, malvertising, malware, MessageLabs, spam, spam messages, spam rate

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