Drop in spam not expected to last: Fortinet

Drop in spam not expected to last: Fortinet

Security vendor Fortinet’s latest Threatscape report suggests the recent drop in spam will not outlast the Christmas holiday season.

In November, malware and spam showed significant declines due to the takedown of US rogue ISP McColo. Fortinet's report shows spam dipped to 37 percent during that time. But key-loggers, which record keystrokes, saw a resurgence.

Fortinet systems engineering manager Nelson Da Silva says the end of McColo will only mean a temporary dip in spam. “It’s just a matter of time before those infected hosts figure out new ways to get out and start `talking’ with the command control systems.”

Spam has now gone into a rebuilding phase, says Da Silva. “Alongside that is the number of malware exploits, so it’s very common to see season's greeting type emails come through. It would be very good if users are cautious when they see those subject lines.”

He adds that it is a common tradition for crime syndicates to take advantage of the public holidays. “Many organisations go as far as restricting file attachments over Christmas due to the problem.”

The report also highlights that keystroke recording of banking and credit card information is on the rise, which suggests criminals are ready to target people making online purchases during the holidays.

Da Silva’s advice is to be careful when shopping online.

He adds that social networking activity, such as updating a user status, is another avenue for cyber criminals. “That’s something we’ve been tracking for some time now. You see a lot more people updating their status and there has been quite a lot of hosted malicious plug ins turning up on Facebook.”

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