Spam levels hit peak: Security vendors

Technology managers are struggling with a peak period in spam activity which security vendors say has hit one of its highest points ever.Anecdotal evidence across the Internet and reports from security vendors' Web monitoring programs suggests that trojan activity and denial-of-service attacks have increased steadily across the globe in recent months.

Technology managers are struggling with a peak period in spam activity which security vendors say has hit one of its highest points ever.

Anecdotal evidence across the Internet and reports from security vendors' Web monitoring programs suggests that trojan activity and denial-of-service attacks have increased steadily across the globe in recent months.

Security vendor Marshal's threat research and content engineering team said spam volume had increased 280 percent globally since October last year.

"The increase in total spam volume could be attributed to the dramatic increase in spam we have seen coming out of Asia in the past week," said Bradley Anstis, director of product management for Marshal.

"The increase in spam from the region is likely the result of a newly activated botnet running off computers in Asia", he said.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer for F-Secure, said on his company's Web site the spam increase was reminiscent of what he called "the spam wars" of 2004. Several of the most infamous viruses in recent years: Bagle, Netsky and Mydoom, were released in quick succession in February 2004 and wreaked havoc, infecting many computers.

Hypponen's views were consistent with Joe Stewart, security researcher with SecureWorks.

Stewart wrote on his company's Web site that recent months had seen the spam wars "escalating to new levels".

He said spammers may have been emboldened by a successful attack on a community-based anti-spam system, BlueFrog, last year.

"It could be that the spammers have been emboldened by the successful attack on BlueFrog last year, which shut down a service that was affecting the spammers' ability to conduct their 'business', " he said.

"With no repercussions from that attack, or even older attacks which shut down certain DNS blocklists, it seems that more spammers are willing and able to attack anyone who threatens their profit potential."