Tis’ the season for spam, says Symantec

On the first day of Christmas this spammer brought to me…

Symantec’s latest monthly threat report, with its long catalogue of spam categories currently afflicting harried users doesn’t make for very cheerful reading.

Spam accounted for nearly three out of four emails in November, according to the security software vendor’s latest The State of Spam report (for December 2008).

To put that growth trend into perspective, in May 2007 spam accounted for ap­proximately 64 per cent of all email traffic.

Highlights from Symantec’s latest Winter spam catalogue include:

Olympic spam: Though the summer games are still more than nine months away, Symantec says it has started seeing the first examples of spam connected to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China

Britney, Lindsay, and Donny Osmond headline meds spam: Gossip headlines concerning celebrities being used in meds spam.

Spammers Winter harvest: Symantec says it has blocked an estimated 35 million “blank” e-mails sent by spammers as part of a suspected harvesting campaign to find valid email addresses for spam mailing lists

Missing child: As the search continues for the British child Madeleine McCann, one spammer tries to disguise a virus hosting site in spam e-mails with a link to the authentic FindMadeleine.com site.

Fraud and scam spam on the rise: These categories accounted for 19 per cent of all spam in November, according to Symantec, up from 18 per cent in October and 13 per cent in September.

Seasonal Campaigns:
– Penny Stocks Use Thanksgiving Holiday Captions in Subject Line
– Snowball Spam Fight
– Christmas Freebie Offer
– The Best Christmas Present Ever – A Winning Lottery Ticket

Contrary to all expectation, he Symantec report says, there was an alarming rise in spam levels in 2007.

Since 2006, spam levels have steadily climbed from 56 per cent of all e-mail to an all-time high of 72 per cent of e-mail in the latest Symantec report.

It notes that several spam “firsts” were also marked in 2007, including usage of mp3 and videos and Google alerts and searches.

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