Script kiddies are teaming up with spammers, creating more sophisticated email threats, according to a report.
The report -- put together by managed email security services firm MessageLabs -- also found that financial gain was the main motivation in the convergence of different email security attack methods.
David Banes, technical director for Asia Pacific at MessageLabs, said that script kiddies had now "realised spam's potential earning power".
"They are using their virus writing capabilities to hijack computers and create networks of zombie machines that send millions of spam emails," Banes said. "The preferred method of spamming is now via these botnets, and the industry will pay big bucks to hire them out, so it has become cool to spam."
The MessageLabs Intelligence Email Security Report looked at email security trends and developments during the first six months of this year, according to a statement issued by the company.
It also found an increase in the amount of spam and viruses, compared to the same period in previous years. MessageLabs found that 63.5 percent of all emails it scanned for the report were identified as spam, with one in every 12 emails containing a virus.
The report also found that phishing was on the increase, with MessageLabs intercepting on average 250,000 per month during the six month period. "The intent is financial gain: by duping computer users into entering personal details on fraudulent websites the perpetrators defraud organisations and their customers out of considerable sums of money," MessageLabs said in its statement.
Barnes said the convergence of spyware and spam was just the latest milestone in the evolution of spamming techniques. "Spammers, virus writers and hackers are combining their techniques in an attempt to increase the efficiency of email security attacks," he said.