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SonicWALL finds increased convergence in the ‘malware ecosystem’

Data collected by SonicWALL Inc. from its SMARTLABS network of over one million e-mail users showed increased conve...


January 15, 2007  


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Data collected by SonicWALL Inc. from its SMARTLABS network of over one million e-mail users showed increased convergence in the 2006 malware ecosystem, with combinations of spam, phishing, viruses and DHA attacksdelivering new levels of profitability for online fraudsters.

During the year, SonicWALL, which develops security and data backup and recovery products, recorded twice as many directory harvest attacks (DHA) as all spam attempts.

“The overriding goal of spam today is profit, and an increasing amount of spam is intended to enable theft on a grand scale,” said Gleb Budman, the firm’s senior director of e-mail security.

“Online theft has become more sophisticated, more stealthy and more universal. Rather than targeting large organizations, scammers are making substantial profits by focusing on individuals.”

Profits last year from phishing scams rose fourfold, from US$257 to US$1,244 per victim according to a recent report from the Gartner Group.

SonicWALL’s findings indicate that directory harvest attacks or messages sent to non-existent company e-mail addresses, rose by 505.6%.

“This is one way in which phishers collect more e-mail addresses for their scams,” Budman said.

“We’ve seen an increase of 64% in the numbers of definite phishing e-mails and our data shows that not only are phishing attempts becoming more ingenious, but that phishers are sending more messages for each attempt.”