Blog and social-networking spam increases

Blog and social-networking spam increases

Summary: More spammers are taking advantage of the latest communications methods, a mail services vendor has warned

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TOPICS: Security
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Spammers are increasingly turning to mobile text messaging, Web-based instant messaging, blogs and social-networking communities such as MySpace.com, according to mail services company MessageLabs on Thursday.

The company, which sells a Web-filtering and instant messaging service, said in its latest monthly malware report that spammers were increasingly targeting new means of communication to "bypass email-based anti-spam measures, and more effectively target recipients based on their age, location and other characteristics."

Social networking sites offer spammers a "new level of convergence and capability to profile people," said Mark Sunner, chief technical officer for MessageLabs.

MessageLabs has seen an increase in IM spam, also known as spim, which can be malicious.

"On IM and on the Web, we've seen a huge hike in link spam," Sunner told ZDNet UK. "Spammers send just a hyperlink, which can lead to a malicious site, or a phishing site," Sunner added.

MessageLabs expected "cross-pollination" of malware across different protocols. It also said that growing convergence between different proprietary Web-based IM systems would also help spammers.

"We expect more cross-fertilisation of malware as Yahoo, MSN, and Google become one big blob from an IM standpoint," said Sunner.

Sunner said that MessageLabs may start to sell services focusing on blog spam, but that was "perhaps something for the future".

In June, spam made up 64.8 percent of global email traffic, an increase of 6.9 percent over the previous month, according to the report.

However, this was due to a fluctuation in the number of operational networks of compromised computers sending out spam, rather than an increasing trend, said MessageLabs.

"Over the year spam levels are like a sine wave — they ebb and flow in tandem with botnet distributions — with how botnets grow and shrink. The bad guys seed more, but then more measures are taken against them," said Sunner.

Topic: Security

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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