Spam levels soar as Easter approaches

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Spam levels rose by a third last month to reach nearly 85 per cent of all email traffic, the highest since the McColo shutdown last year, according to the Threat Forecast and Report (PDF) from email and web security firm MXLogic.

Healthcare promotions were the most prevalent type of spam in March, and some spammers used cutting-edge geo-location techniques to localise the message for specific recipients.

The trend of using social networking sites to persuade users to click on links in messages continued, and many unwanted messages appeared to come from Facebook or Classmates.com, according to MXLogic.

"The messages included a link to an adult video of a friend named 'Amanda'. Of course, this was simply an attempt to trick users into downloading malicious malware," the report said.

"We expect to see more and more of this in the future, although with some slight changes in the form of new social engineering tactics, or even changes in traffic volume, as we saw in March."

MXLogic predicted more Easter-themed malicious spam to arrive in the lead up to the holiday, and warned that Internet Explorer 8 could be the subject of much unwanted attention from hackers seeking to test Microsoft's bold statement that it is the safest browser yet.

Just last week, Google's Postini claimed that spam had returned to pre-McColo levels.

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