The New Threat Landscape
According to researchers at
Symantec, one in every 617 spam messages now contains malicious code.
"In the past, a message
was either spam or a virus. ... A single verdict was usually sufficient to catch
it or remedy the situation," said Angelos Kottas, senior manager of product
marketing for Symantec Messaging Security. "But what we're seeing as a
trend is spam that also has malicious code embedded in it, so that a simplistic
approach might not catch it."
In MessageLabs' monthly
Intelligence Report for March, the company reported that it found one in every
169.2 e-mails containing a virus and one in every 228.7 e-mails containing a
The report goes on to say
that some of these attacks were targeted-aimed at specific people in various
"We've been seeing a
sharp increase in [targeted attacks]. On average, we will intercept about 30
targeted Trojans per day," said Mark Sunner, chief security analyst at
MessageLabs. "In December 2005, that average would have been about two per
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Spam is clearly increasingly
being used as an attack mechanism, infecting machines so they can be used in
botnets to send more spam, said Gartner analyst Peter Firstbrook. While only
one in every 150 to 200 e-mails may contain a virus, a much higher percentage
of e-mails include a link to a malware-infected site.
intelligence is one reason to have a coordinated SMTP and Web gateway,"
Firstbrook said, adding that, for many organizations, the lack of a secure Web
gateway capable of filtering malware is a glaring hole in their defenses.