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BizReport : Email Marketing : March 02, 2011

Emailed malware increasing

A few new trends in phishing and malware will likely hurt legitimate email marketers. How? Because some of the new trends are making it difficult for spam filters to detect fraudulent emails; if a consumer clicks on one of these emails, realizes it is fraudulent but got through the filter, chances are they will begin deleting messages which are legitimate.

by Kristina Knight

symantec.pngAccording to new information from Symantec's MessageLabs 1 in 290.1 emails contained malware in February. Many of those attacks were collaborative, meaning that the emails contained malicious information or code from several malware families including Zeus, Bredolab and SpyEye. Researchers believe that these fraudsters are alternating between these 'families' is a signal that they have a common origin.

Another trend for spammers: using URL shorteners to take advantage of new Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). Nick Johnston, an analyst with Symantec's MessageLabs, says the spam messages seems 'normal' at first, but inside the message are shortened URLs which appear to be, but are not, actual pharmacies.

"MessageLabs Intelligence expects the use of IDN in spam to increase in coming months, especially as it may be easier to find unregistered IDN domains. Some registrars are likely to encourage wider adoption of IDNs and are expected to offer some registries at low prices, as we've seen with the introduction of other new top-level domains in previous years," writes Johnston.

The use of the IDNs, the shortened URLs and a few random English words make it difficult for some spam filters to catch the messages. This could also contribute to more consumers clicking on the links and being taken advantage of.

Tags: email, malware, malware attacks, MessageLabs, phishing, spam

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