SOURCE: IronPort Systems

December 19, 2006 17:43 ET

IronPort Issues Report on Internet Security Trends

Report on Spam, Viruses and Spyware Highlight Trends of 2006 and Predictions for 2007

SAN BRUNO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 19, 2006 -- IronPort® Systems, the leading gateway security provider, today announced the availability of its 2007 Internet Security Trends Report. The IronPort report reviews the trends and techniques used in 2006 and makes predictions for 2007. The report highlights the undeniable fact that 2006 is the year that spam came back. Spam volumes surged in 2006 -- with the significant volume increase being driven by advanced image-based spam, which is typically 10 times larger than text spam. In turn, mail throughput more than tripled in 2006. IronPort expects this spam surge to continue in 2007, putting strain on global email infrastructure and causing disruptions in legitimate email delivery.

The IronPort report details how virus writers have shifted from the mass-mailer tactics of previous years to stealthier attacks embedded in office documents and with highly polymorphic outbreaks. Malware writers found new ways to deliver a steadily increasing array of harmful code, such as key loggers and system monitors. In addition, Internet Explorer vulnerabilities have allowed malware code to propagate undetected by the end user. Malware authors developed effective spam and phishing techniques to drive traffic to infected sites, resulting in desktop infection rates of over 50 percent in corporations worldwide.

Technological Innovation by Criminals: Money and Mayhem

"Trends point to a single overarching theme. Spam, viruses, phishing and malware are tools used by well-organized global entities that are profiting from a variety of criminal activities including drug trafficking, fraud and identity theft," commented Tom Gillis, senior vice president, Worldwide Marketing, IronPort Systems and author of the IronPort Report on Internet Security Threats. "To combat these sophisticated threats, enterprise security officers need to evaluate solutions that have strong email and web capabilities. An email appliance and a Web security gateway that work together and share a common threat database is the best way to defend against the sophisticated new generation of threats on the Internet."

Additional Findings and Statistics

-- Elite spam groups have established an elaborate infrastructure
   that spans the globe. In many cases delivering billions of spam
   messages from 100,000 different servers in as many as 120 different

-- Spam categories keep evolving to fool end-users.
   --  Pharmaceutical spam and "stock scam" spam are the most widely sent
       types of spam today.  In 2006 "stock scams" surged from less than 10
       percent of spam in 2005 to more than 30 percent of spam in 2006.

-- Rapid-outbreak spam attacks have increased in frequency.
   --  Spammers are adopting techniques used by virus writers for years,
       developing new strains or variants of spam. They send out a very
       limited trial quantity to see how effective the new strain is
       against spam filters. Once spammers are confident that they have
       created a content set that will get through most spam filters,
       they will launch a very large-scale attack.

-- A typical spam attack
   --  Now involves billions of messages using very sophisticated
       randomization techniques.
   --  Most attacks are believed to be coming from groups with links to
       organized crime.
   --  More than 80 percent of spam is sent from zombies.
   --  The average life span of a zombie in 2006 was less than 30 days.
The report in its entirety can be found at

About IronPort Systems, Inc.

IronPort Systems is the leading gateway security provider for organizations ranging from small businesses to the Global 2000. The company has developed a family of security gateway appliances, including the IronPort C-Series™ email security appliances, and the IronPort S-Series Web security appliances. All IronPort application-specific security gateway appliances offer breakthrough performance, and utilize SenderBase®, the world's largest email and Web threat detection network and database. For more information on IronPort products and services, visit:

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