Symantec Announces August 2011 Symantec Intelligence Report

Symantec Announces August 2011 Symantec Intelligence Report

Decline in Global and Local Spam Rate

Symantec reported that the local ratio of spam in email traffic declined from 75.7% to 73.4%. This decline has been tracked since September 2010 which registered a high of over 90%.

A declining trend in the ratio of spam in email traffic. The black trend line tracks the local ratio while the bright yellow one is the global trend.

The most spammed country in the world is Saudi Arabia with a spam rate of 84.8%. Our spam rate is 73.4%. In the countries highlighted by Symantec's report, the spam rates are from 72.8% (Japan) and beyond. China was second position with a spam rate of 81.6%, overtaking Russia who has a spam rate of 81.1%.


Pump-and-dump Stock Scam

Despite this decline, we still need to be wary of spammers who seek to exploit our herd instincts by sending large volumes of spam relating to certain "pink sheets" stocks in an attempt to "pump" the value of these stocks before "dumping" them at a profit. This is a form of market manipulation by the spammers seeking to benefit from fluctuations in the turbulent financial markets. They intend to artificially drive up the price of the stock to a point where the scammers decide to sell their shares. This usually coincides with them ending the spam campaign, which in turn reduces the interest in the stock, causing the price of the stock to plummet to its original price.


MBR (Master Boot Record) Threats Renaissance

The MBR is one of the first things to be read from the hard disk drive and executed by the computer hardware when powered on. PCs have been subjected to the threat of MBR viruses since 1986 and according to Symantec, there were as many new boot time malware, also known as MBR threats, in the first seven months of 2011 as there were in the previous three years.


Phishing Rates

Phishing activity increased in August this year, with many increases coming from attacks related to major brand names such as those related to Apple’s iDisk service and a variety of Brazilian companies and services, including social networking and financial brand names. Sweden has the unenviable honor of being the most targeted country with one in 45.3 emails identified as phishing for the month of August 2011. The UK is the second most targeted country with one in 79.5 emails identified as phishing attacks. On the local front, one in 2,474 emails for Singapore was identified as phishing in the same time period.


Email Borne Viruses

The global ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic was one in 203.3 emails (0.49 %) in August. Singapore fared slightly better as the ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic dropped to one in 918.0 emails as compared to one in 761.8 in July 2011.

Our local trend of email borne viruses tracked a decline from the month of July 2011 vis-a-vis a increase in the global rate of 0.49%.

Sweden came up tops again with one in 53.2 emails containing malicious content, it took the top spot from the UK who fell to second place for the month of August 2011 with one in 86.5 emails being blocked as malicious. Singapore's email borne viruses was one in 918.0, spotting an increment from July's figure of one in 761.8.


Vertical Trends

The Automative Industry sector continued to be the most spammed industry sector, with a spam rate of 79.0%. The Public sector seems to be the most highly targeted sector as this sector remained the most targeted by phishing activity in August 2011, with one in 24.8 emails comprising a phishing attack. It also took the top position for email borne threats with one in 24.0 emails being blocked as malicious.


The August 2011 Symantec Intelligence Report provides greater detail on all of the trends and figures noted above, as well as more detailed geographical and vertical trends. The full report is available here.

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