SOURCE: Ipswitch Messaging Division

December 22, 2008 10:51 ET

Ipswitch's Q4 Spamometer: Economy and Cybercrime Go Hand in Hand

AUGUSTA, GA--(Marketwire - December 22, 2008) - Researchers have found a definite relationship between the economy and cybercrime. The 2008 Q4 stock market declines have instigated a wave in spam and scams. With the recent hit to Wall Street and the collapse of some big names in global banking, spam attacks also took a strong Q4 dive. However, cyber-crooks are now targeting new sources of income. Instead of targeting the banking industry, credit cards and passwords, spam campaigns are now focusing on scams promoting services that contend to eliminate or leverage debts, mortgages, and loan obligations while other spammers are using the economic crisis as a stage for advertising drugs, pirated software or replicas.

With the USA still leading the pack in spam production with 53.49%, and costing millions of dollars to enterprises each year, botnets, spear-phishing, and insider attacks are just some of the threats on the horizon for the coming year. New campaigns already detected include 2012 Olympics and Citizen's Bank, as well as similar rogue programs such as the "Antivirus XP" malware.

With this recent diversity and enterprise spam and malware, attacks have become widespread and traditional batch-mode updates of signatures are unable to keep pace with them, leaving user systems vulnerable to the latest threats. Conventional wisdom suggests that businesses and consumers make sure their spam filters and anti-virus engines are up to date. The good news is that although overall spam attempts continue to rise, the amount of spam arriving in email inboxes has remained relatively level for those who utilize proper email filtering.

The most effective solutions against spam combine a strong reputation system with a complete filtering system that includes heuristics, statistical analysis, signature filters and multi-lingual detection. Spam is wholly dependent on the level of awareness with respect to the rising number of threats and on how proactive an organization is with respect to security issues. When a spam email appears to come from a trusted source, too many users are tricked into clicking through to a malicious webpage.

Therefore, it appears for the next several months, one big challenge for IT administrators will be insider threats as the economy continues in uncertainty. Insiders, including current employees, partners, and customers, may be threat carriers for external and internal attackers, who use them and their lack of security awareness to gain access to enterprise data. This threat to enterprise from employees' internet use is at its peak with phishing, access to adult content, and malware which creates a serious risk to corporations' networks. With users looking for information on how to better their current situations, spammers are finding their way into the disheartened state by targeting with respective campaigns to reel them in. With that in mind, education should be the key to preventing infection.

About Ipswitch Messaging Division

Ipswitch Messaging Division delivers crucial communication and collaboration tools without the high acquisition and ongoing administrative costs of systems designed for large enterprises. More than 60 million people worldwide use Ipswitch Messaging software to communicate via the award winning Ipswitch IMail Server and Ipswitch Instant Messaging, support regulatory compliance and storage maintenance requirements with MailArchiva and Sonian Hosted Archival Systems. Along with an integrated Commtouch Anti-Spam technology, Ipswitch Messaging delivers secure anti-virus protection from BitDefender and Symantec. For companies that want a turnkey collaboration system that includes e-mail, features that plug into Microsoft Outlook, plus integrated anti-spam and anti-virus support and an appealing, secure instant-messaging capability all in one, IMail Server delivers a collaborative set of core features and full-fledged groupware products like Exchange Server at a fraction of the cost. Supported by a world-class team of technical support engineers and customer service representatives, Ipswitch Messaging stands ready to apply its development know-how to help make your organization's messaging initiative a total success.

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