Rustock, Phishing Scams Boost Spam in January
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For the first half of January, spam volume was relatively low but the reemergence of the Rustock botnet and a series of new malicious spam and phishing operations gave Internet users plenty to worry about later in the month.
As eSecurity Planet reports, the combination of creative and increasingly deceptive malicious spam missives and the proliferation of do-it-yourself malware kits pushed total spam volume over 130 million messages at day at its peak in January.
According to security software vendor AppRiver, the uptick was particularly pronounced mid-month when the Rustock botnet returned from a brief hiatus to resume infecting computers and mobile devices at an impressive pace.
AppRiver security analysts also chronicled a mid-month surge in malicious content stuffed away within images either attached to emails or showcased on infected sites to which users were redirected.
"We saw a huge mid-month spike in spam attempting to obfuscate its content using an image attachment," the report said. "For a few days, we were monitoring levels at more than four times the norm."
Worldwide spam volume hovered between 70 million and 90 million messages a day for the first two weeks of the month. But an onslaught of email-based phishing scams using popular household brands including Coca-Cola and McDonald's cropped up in ever-increasing numbers, putting more users' personal information at risk.