Language-specific spam begins to hit the web

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Spammers are using translation services and templates to develop multiple versions of spam in various languages.

According to the July 2009 Intelligence Report from MessageLabs, some countries are experiencing levels of spam in excess of 95 per cent.

The report attributes this partially to the success of one technique, predominantly used in non-English language countries, which involves automated translation services and templates enabling spam runs to operate in multiple languages.

Local language spam now accounts for 46 per cent of spam in Germany and 53 per cent in France. In the Netherlands, 25 per cent of spam is in Dutch. In Japan, 62.3 per cent is in non-English languages and in China this number is 54.7 per cent.

MessageLabs Intelligence senior analyst Paul Wood said: “
Once again the spammers turn to their online toolbox, the internet, for their latest tactics. Translation services and templates enable the spammers to push out multiple-language spam attacks and some dubious translations through the use of poor online services highlight the use of these antics.

“Non-English spam now accounts for one in every 20 spam messages, a figure we'll be closely monitoring to see if spammers continue with their global expansion.”

The report also found that only 0.7 per cent of all web-based malware intercepted in July so far was new, compared with 58.8 per cent in June.

However, with the number of new websites harbouring malware and other potentially unwanted programs identified each day reaching a nine-month high of 3,618, it indicates that previously-used malware is being more widely-distributed to other websites.

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