Ten Million Zombies Distributing Spam and Malware Every Day, According to PandaLabs and CommTouch

2008-08-13 11:46:00

   Recent Research Report Also Finds that 74 Percent of Email Received by

                               Users is Spam



    GLENDALE, Calif., Aug. 13 /EMWNews/ -- Panda Security, a leading

provider of IT security solutions, today announced that PandaLabs, Panda

Security's laboratory for detecting and analyzing malware, announced the

findings from a joint report with CommTouch on the current state of spam.

The report found that on average during the second quarter of this year,

more than 10 million zombie computers (systems infected by 'bots' and

controlled remotely by cyber criminals) were sending spam and emails with

malware every day. The full report can be accessed at:

http://www.pandasecurity.com/emailhtml/oxygen/Q2_08 Email_Threats -

Panda.pdf.



    According to the report, the vast number of 'zombies' continues to be

largely responsible for the avalanche of spam suffered by users and

companies. Between April and June 2008, 74 percent of all mail received was

spam. The bots infecting these computers are small programs dropped on

computers that enable attackers to take remote control of the system and

botnets are groups of computers infected by bots and primed to act in

unison. Cyber-crooks send instructions to these computers, including

commands to download malware onto the system, display advertising to the

user, launch denial of service attacks, and above all, distribute spam.



    "This is not just annoying for users, who have to delete all of this

mail, but in corporate environments it has important repercussions on

productivity and resource consumption," explains Luis Corrons, technical

director of PandaLabs. "Nucleus Research, an independent consultant, put

the cost of receiving and deleting spam at $712 per employee.(1)"



    In the second quarter of 2008, Turkey became the country with most

zombie computers (11 percent of the global total), followed by Brazil (8.4

percent) and Russia (7.4 percent). The USA, which in the first quarter

accounted for 5 percent of all zombies, is now in ninth place with just 4.3

percent of the total.



    Email threat trends in the second quarter of 2008



    During the second quarter of 2008, there have been no revolutionary

trends in the distribution of spam and malware via email, largely due to

the fact that existing methods are still serving cyber-crooks well.



    Google Adwords has been at the center of one of the most notable

attacks over the last quarter. This Google service had been used previously

to launch phishing attacks and the trend continues. This type of attack

uses social engineering to trick users into revealing confidential details

(bank account numbers, passwords, etc.). Aimed at the owners of Google

Adwords accounts, the messages include subjects such as "your Adwords

Google account is stopped" or "account reactivation" and include seemingly

legitimate links. If users click the link, they are taken to a page that

appears genuine and are prompted to enter their confidential details which

will immediately fall into the hands of cyber-crooks.



    Tax information has been another favorite of spammers. Around the

period for filing tax returns in April, attackers distributed mail with

subjects such as: "Get a fast tax refund free" or "Get fast relief for IRS

tax debt." In most cases, the aim of these attacks was to obtain

confidential details such as bank account numbers or physical addresses.



    The Blogspot platform has also been used to host and distribute

malicious content. Perhaps as a result of the growing awareness by Blogspot

and its attempts to counter this type of content, spammers have begun to

use other platforms. Blogdrive fell victim in this second quarter to

spammers, who launched a wave of comments at the platform containing links

to pornographic websites.



    For more information about these and other trends observed during the

second quarter of 2008, see the CommTouch and PandaLabs report at

http://www.pandasecurity.com/emailhtml/oxygen/Q2_08 Email_Threats -

Panda.pdf



    About PandaLabs



    Since 1990, its mission has been to detect and eliminate new threats as

rapidly as possible to offer our clients maximum security. To do so,

PandaLabs has an innovative automated system that analyzes and classifies

thousands of new samples a day and returns automatic verdicts (malware or

goodware). This system is the basis of collective intelligence, Panda

Security's new security model which can even detect malware that has evaded

other security solutions.



    Currently, 94% of malware detected by PandaLabs is analyzed through

this system of collective intelligence. This is complemented through the

work of several teams, each specialized in a specific type of malware

(viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing, spam, etc), work 24/7 to

provide global coverage. This translates into more secure, simpler and more

resource-friendly solutions for clients.



    More information is available in the PandaLabs blog:

http://www.pandalabs.com



    About Panda Security



    Panda Security is one of the world's leading IT security providers,

with millions of clients across more than 200 countries and products

available in 23 languages. Its mission is to develop and provide global

solutions to keep clients' IT resources free from the damage inflicted by

viruses and other computer threats, at the lowest possible total cost of

ownership.



    Panda Security proposes a new security model, designed to offer a

robust solution to the latest cyber-crime techniques. This is manifest in

the performance of the company's technology and products, with detection

ratios well above average market standards and most importantly, providing

greater security for its clients. For more information and evaluation

versions of all Panda Security solutions, visit our website at:

http://www.pandasecurity.com.



    (1)

http://nucleusresearch.com/news/press-releases/nucleus-research-spam-

costing-us-businesses-712-per-employee-each-year/





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