Europe Crowned New King of Spam

Europe is now the top spam-producing country in the world, bypassing North and South Americas, and Asia-Pacific, according to the Trend Micro semi-annual 2010 threat report.

Spam continued to grow between January and June 2010, stalling briefly during April. Despite common perception, porn consists of only 4 percent of all spam. Commercial, scams-based and health/medical categories comprise 65 percent of the spam generated throughout the world, with HTML spam being the most commonly used technique by cyber criminals, the report noted.

Recent estimates place the number of unique new malware samples introduced in a single day at greater than 60,000, according to the report. Trojans make up for about 60 percent of new signatures, or antidotes, created by TrendLabs, and 53 percent of overall detections as of June. Backdoors and Trojan-spyware, often defined as crimeware, placed second and third, respectively.

India and Brazil were discovered to have the most botted computers — the preferred tools by cyber criminals who use botnets for distributing malware, perpetrating attacks and sending spam. Botnet herders earn millions of dollars in money stolen from innocent computer users.

In terms of which “bad actors” made the biggest impact, threat researchers identified ZeuS and KOOBFACE. ZeuS is primarily a crimeware kit designed to steal users’ online banking login credentials and other personal data. Hundreds of new ZeuS variants are seen by Trend Micro every day, a trend that will most likely continue in the near future.

The KOOBFACE botnet has been deemed by researchers the largest social-networking threat to date. Earlier this year, TrendLabs experts noted the KOOBFACE gang was continuously updating its botnet. The cyber crooks also began encrypting their command and control communications to avoid monitoring and discovery by security researchers and the authorities.

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