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BizReport : Email Marketing : December 12, 2010

MessageLabs: What to expect from email in 2011

Email marketers needs to remain vigilant heading in the New Year according to a recent MessageLabs report. Spammers, botnets and phishers won't be turning over a new leaf when 2011 rolls around, in fact, experts with MessageLabs believes botnets, in particular, will become more sophisticated.

by Kristina Knight

To wrap up 2010:

• More than 3,000 new, malicious websites were blocked each day
• Global spam rate peaked a 92.2% in August
• More than 339,673 malware strains were identified from blocked malware messages
• 1 in 444.5 messages were phishing attempts

Now, looking ahead to 2011. MessageLabs believes that botnet controllers will begin using steganography techniques - hiding commands 'behind' music or image files. This means botnets won't need an ISP to host them; they will be able to issue instructions to the bots through these images which will make the bots even harder to spot.

"With successful and resilient botnet operations established in prior years, the cyber criminals experimented with many tactics to keep spam campaigns active and fresh this year," said Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst, Symantec Hosted Services. "From leveraging newsworthy events like the FIFA World Cup to taking advantage of the widespread popularity of URL shortening services and social networks, the spammers deployed a variety of tricks to bypass spam filters and lure potential victims."

Targeted attacks may also come into higher play. In 2010 between 200 and 300 organizations were 'targeted' monthly, with most attacks targeted to high-security job roles. Businesses operating in the cloud may be slightly safer because of the security enable in the cloud atmosphere.

Tags: email, email marketing, email research, email strategy, MessageLabs, Paul Wood, Symantec

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