Spam Rate Down a Bit for Month

Friday, October 6, 2017 @ 03:10 PM gHale

The spam rate dropped in September, but it is still above average for the year, according to a new report.

The spam rate last month remained above the 54.3 percent average registered last year, but went as high as 59.4 percent and 56.4 percent, respectively, for the mining and manufacturing sectors, according to Symantec’s intelligence report for September.

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Driving up the spam rate was massive malicious campaigns dropping variants of the Locky ransomware. During mid-September, six massive Locky distribution runs were observed, Symantec said in a post.

At 55 percent in September, the spam rate was also higher than the 54 percent rate Symantec previously reported for the first half of the year.

Email remains a favorite distribution method for attackers, with users being twice as likely to encounter malware via email, compared to other infection vectors, Symantec said.

Phishing rate came in at one in 2,644 emails for September, down for the second month in a row, but still well above the rates seen earlier in the year, Symantec said in the report. In July, the phishing rate peaked at one in 1,968 emails.

Spambots remain the primary culprits in the distribution of spam emails, with Necurs (the largest amount of malicious email activity in 2017), Gamut (focuses almost exclusively on advertising spam), Tofsee, BlankSlate, and Waledac being some of the most popular of them.

For malicious payload distribution via email, attackers either use URLs or attachments, with attachments being the most popular, accounting for 74 percent of the malicious emails in the first half of 2017.

Email malware increased in September as well, with one in every 312 emails carrying malicious code, Symantec said.

Thus, September was the sixth month to register growth in email malware. At one in 120 emails, the Agriculture, Forestry, & Fishing sector was impacted the most, followed by the Mining industry at one in 196 emails.

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