Summertime and the spamming goes easy

4 Jul 2006

Spam and virus levels dropped in Ireland last month, with malware at its lowest level in Ireland since the start of the year and junk email also showing a decline.

According to the latest data from IE Internet, spam levels were at 48.35pc of all email during June – a slight reduction compared with May’s figures of 53.12pc. The sources of spam continue to spread away from the US, which traditionally had been the largest single point of origin for junk email. Last month, the top five countries only accounted for less than two thirds of all spam (65.66pc), suggesting a broad base of sender countries.

The IE Internet figures show that 16.05pc of emails circulating in Ireland during June contained viruses – a considerable decline over May, which had seen the highest levels of virus-infected emails circulating in Ireland so far this year.

Continuing an established trend, many of the leading infections have been around for some time. In first place for June, Netsky.P accounted for almost a quarter of all infected emails even though it was first discovered more than two years ago.

“They’re slightly down on both the virus and spam front but that’s little respite,” commented Ken O’Driscoll, chief technical officer of IE Internet. “Second place goes to a new strain of Beagle which uses the same password-protected zip file trick as its predecessors in an attempt to avoid traditional virus scanners.”

O’Driscoll also pointed out the emergence of a slightly new variant of the infamous MyDoom worm, which came in at the bottom of the list, although it did not score highly enough to rank among the top five infections.

“The common thing to note here is that all the viruses on our top five league table, be they new or old, use the same tricks as they did two years ago to infect a PC,” O’Driscoll remarked.

Meanwhile NOD32 Ireland has warned of malware called Win32/TrojanDownloader.Swizzor, which it said was responsible for 6pc of all threats it recorded in June. Swizzor can be covertly installed from certain websites or can be delivered through spam email. When executed, the Trojan installs several spyware tracking programs.

According to NOD32, Swizzor is created using an autogeneration routine, so that every time it is downloaded it is likely to be different. As a result, several thousand variants of this Trojan are created every day and it advised users to employ proactive detection to protect against it.

By Gordon Smith