Please see below the findings from Kaspersky Lab’s latest spam report for May 2012. The main topics that emerged during the last quarter include the rise in spam concerning manufacturing in China, the start of the holiday season and the number of Facebook users targeted by phishing attacks.
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In May 2012 Kaspersky Lab saw another reduction in the amount of spam found in email traffic. Its share was down 3.4 percentage points, and it fell to its lowest point since the start of the year – 73.8 per cent. However, users still face all the risks associated with malware attachments and other tricks from cybercriminals.
Manufacturing scams on the rise
Over the last few months spam traffic has regularly included messages offering the chance to cooperate with the manufacturers of various goods from China or with people willing to resell Chinese goods. These emails usually contain a short text promising high profits from selling unspecified "plastic items" or "textiles" (In May, for example, one batch of messages was sent on behalf of a "socks manufacturer”). It is safe to say that these emails from Chinese “manufacturers” or “suppliers” are part of a new type of fraud based on “Nigerian” spam: the fraudsters are actively exploiting the growing interest investors have in the Chinese market. They target businessmen looking for contacts with Chinese manufacturers and connect them with scammers who make off with their money and are never heard of again.
In May, the Travel and Tourism category showed some unusual behaviour. It is not possible to say whether its share will increase in June: the holiday season has always been a catalyst for this type of spam, but mass mailings offering beach holidays are usually most prevalent in May and that didn’t happen this year.
Phishers favour Facebook
Among the most popular phishing targets, social networks were overtaken by financial institutions. Despite this, about 20 per cent of all phishing attacks were aimed at Facebook users. This underlines the fact that Facebook remains one of the phishers’ prime targets whilst their interest in other social networking sites is waning. It also appears that alongside an increase in online gaming and use of social networks, phishers expect the start of the summer holidays for schools and universities to spark a surge in online shopping. In May, at least, the share of phishing attacks on this sector rose considerably.
Maria Namestnikova, Kaspersky Lab’s senior spam analyst, says: “In May, the proportion of spam in mail traffic decreased considerably. This could be down to a seasonal fluctuation. If that is the case, spam will remain at a low level until August. However, this may be a systemic phenomenon, and in that case the share of spam in mail traffic will soon drop to below 70 per cent.”
The full version of the spam report for May 2012 is available at: www.securelist.com