60pc of business email is now spam

2 Mar 2007

Spam comprised the majority of emails sent to Irish inboxes last month, the latest figures from IE Internet claim. It said that over 60pc of emails sent to Irish businesses were spam.

The US remains the largest source of spam, followed closely by the Russian Federation.

Poland made its first appearance in the monthly statistics from IE Internet as a major source of spam targeted at Irish businesses. Over 10pc of spam targeting Irish inboxes last month was sent from Poland.

It is believed that recently a large Russian virus gang have targeted insecure Polish computers which, once infected, are incorporated into a spam botnet without the owner’s knowledge.

Good news for once on the data security front came with the result that virus rates have dropped to 8pc. Almost all viruses sent at the moment are the result of the creation of botnets and a particularly aggressive virus on the prowl in February was the W32/Tibs virus.

“The rate of virus infections has dropped back to the below 10 pc arena again which is always a good thing,” said IE Internet’s Ken O’Driscoll. “The new kid on the block, W32/Tibs, is a variant of a much older (and not too successful) virus called Luder.”

O’Driscoll explained that the W32/Tibs virus presents itself as a Valentine’s Day message using forged ‘From’ addresses.

Once the user has clicked through all the security warning that their operating system throws up about executing strange attachments, the virus proceeds to some or all of the following: disable virus scanners and system tools that could be used to remove it; collects all email addresses on the computer and posts them to an internet server of the (virus) writer’s choosing; turns the PC into a open relay for spammers to use; becomes part of a zombie army (for use in distributed denial of service attacks); sends itself to all the email addresses it can find on the PC.

“It’s just too early to tell what foothold this virus has. March and April will indicate if its going to be a new member of our league table,” O’Driscoll said.

“Regarding the spam situation, it’s above 60pc which is troubling for people who don’t have spam filters as basically six out of every 10 of their emails is junk. While we are continuing to see the trend of moving operations away from North America, there’s still a significant volume of spam still originating from open relays and zombie PCs on US cable and broadband networks.

“Again, there’s no Asian countries in the top five sources, which is probably down to earthquake damage to internet links not yet being repaired,” O’Driscoll explained.

By John Kennedy