Spam and viruses see minor rises in May: Symantec

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All but one spam emails now contain a URL.

The May 2010 Symantec MessageLabs Intelligence Report has revealed that nine out of ten spam emails now contain a URL link in the message, and in May, five per cent of all domains found in spam URLs belonged to genuine websites.

Of the most frequently used domain names contained in spam URLs, the top four belong to well-known websites used for social networking, blogging and file sharing, and host other forms of user-generated content.

The report also found that there was a minor increase by 0.3 per cent of spam in email traffic, while analysis of web security activity showed that 12.4 per cent of all web-based malware intercepted was new in May, an increase of 1.5 per cent since April.

MessageLabs Intelligence also identified an average of 1,770 new websites per day harbouring malware and other potentially unwanted programs such as spyware and adware, an increase of 5.6 per cent since April.

Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence senior analyst, said: “Domains belonging to well-known websites tend to be recycled and used continuously, compared with ‘disposable' domains which are used for a short period of time and never seen again.

“Perhaps this is because there is some work involved in acquiring them: the legitimate domains require CAPTCHAs to be solved to create the large numbers of accounts that are then used by spammers.”

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