Spam 101

By Jordan Harris – 07/11/11

Computer codeIn July 2010 spam messages hit an all time high of 230 billion, according to a Symantec report.  Spam messages represent 90% of all email traffic and almost all of it is produced from Botnets.  That’s a lot of emails about Rolexs, Viagra and Nigerian princes.  The reason for all of this spam is financial gain.

One method of spam takes advantage of unsuspecting users who click on a link for pharmaceuticals, watches or free money.  Some of these websites do actually ship you something but there are also fake sites set up to walk away with the money. Even if the purchases are shipped, the quality of the drugs or designer products are not what you would expect (think Folex watches and Channel purses).  Also the free money wont be in your account but you may be missing some.

The more malicious method is sending out the spam emails with embeded malware or a link to a site infected with malware.  The malware contained in such emails (or on a website) varies greatly as there are roughly 60,000 pieces of malware created per day.  These numbers are scary with the amount of spam and malware currently being created.

However the increase in spam from botnets has not gone unnoticed from authorities and information security vendors.  Law enforcement officials with industry collaboration were able to shut down two of the largest botnets, the Rustock and Coreflood botnet, in March and April of 2011.  Shutting down two large botnets has

Nothing in this article is new but somehow spam e-mails are still floating around.  The question is why are people still falling for the e-mails (If this is you, you’re welcome).

Jordan Harris