Research by Kaspersky Lab has revealed that the proportion of spam in email flows was 69.6 per cent in 2013, which is 2.5 per cent lower than the previous year. Kaspersky Lab identifies that 0.10 per cent of spam in 2013 was sent via computers and servers based in the UAE, placing the Emirates in the 51st position worldwide. As for the Middle East region, the region came sixth in 2013, more than halving its share in comparison with 2012.
Moreover, the percentage of emails with malicious attachments was 3.2 per cent – 0.2 per cent lower than in 2012. Additionally, 32.1 per cent of phishing attacks targeted social networks and, for the third year in a row, financial data leads the malicious spam hit list.
In some spam categories commercial advertising is being gradually displaced by criminal mailings, such as spam messages advertising illegal goods or pornography. A typical example is the travel and tourism category that used to account for five to ten per cent of all spam traffic. These days, commercial adverts such as this are rare, but experts see numerous malicious emails actively exploiting the subject of travel and leisure.
In a bid to reach an even greater number of users, but wary of spam filters that block unwanted messages, advertisers are resorting to trickery. Part of a mass mailing is sent to subscribers who have agreed to receive adverts, and part is sent to addresses taken from huge databases that these companies have purchased to people who never gave their consent to receive such messages. If the mailings are blocked by spam filters, the advertisers contact the security vendor and try to prove their mailings are legitimate by showing the websites where users can sign up and unsubscribe at any time. This poses a new challenge for the anti-spam industry and is leading to the development of new technologies based on sender reputations.