Commtouch Q1 Internet Threats Trend Report Highlights Strong Increase in Spam and Dangerous Email

Commtouch Q1 Internet Threats Trend Report Highlights Strong Increase in Spam
                             and Dangerous Email

100 billion spam and 1 billion malware emails daily - Pump and dump spam
returns with a vengeance

PR Newswire

MCLEAN, Virginia, May 1, 2013

MCLEAN, Virginia, May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Unwanted and dangerous email increased dramatically in the first quarter of
2013, according to a Q1 Internet Threats Trend Report issued by Commtouch^®
(NASDAQ: CTCH), a leading provider of Internet security technology and
cloud-based services. During the first quarter of 2013, an average of 97.4
billion spam emails and 973 million malware emails were sent worldwide each
day. In March, the number of daily spam emails significantly exceeded the 100
billion mark (117.8 billion).

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Spam levels doubled between December 2012 and March 2013, a 98 percent
increase. Phishing also increased dramatically, with the number of phishing
emails swelling to more than 74 percent in March, compared to the previous
December. The largest increase, however, could be observed with email-borne
malware: levels of emails carrying known malware were 157 percent higher in
March than in December. For virus outbreaks, the increase was a stunning 290
percent.

The biggest part of this growth occurred in March. Compared to February, spam
levels increased by 41 percent, known malware by 75 percent, and virus
outbreaks by 124 percent. Only phishing volumes broke the trend, as they only
increased by eight percent in March. The current increase is unusual in that
historically spam and malware levels rarely correspond. In the past, when one
category increased, the other often decreased or at least stagnated. The
significance of the first quarter growth is underlined by comparisons with the
respective volumes in March 2012: In March 2013, spam levels were 48 percent
higher than the previous year, malware emails were 255 percent higher, and
malware outbreaks were 251 percent higher. Only phishing levels decreased
since March 2012.

Other report highlights:

  oPump and dump spam, also known as penny stock spam, one of the most
    popular topics among spammers between 2006 and 2008, made a forceful
    comeback in Q1 after having all but disappeared in previous years. In
    March 2013, pump and dump spam dominated the list of spam topics. Eighteen
    percent of the top 25 spam emails (with a combined volume of 46 percent of
    all spam) were pump and dump mailings. The trick was the same as in
    previous years. The emails advertise cheap shares with very small trading
    volumes, indicating there was significant earning potential in them. If
    only a few recipients can be fooled into buying the stock, the value will
    rise significantly and the spammers who have bought shares at the lower
    price can cash in.
  oIn Web security, the first quarter of 2013 saw extensive usage of the
    Blackhole exploit kit. The kit is installed on target Web sites allowing
    the installation of drive-by malware. The JavaScript on the page scans the
    visiting system to determine the versions of popular software. Once the
    kit has determined that there is vulnerability, the relevant exploit is
    loaded, allowing the controller to gain a foothold on the infected system.
    The Blackhole controller can then deliver further malicious content.
  oCurrent news events were extensively used to lure email users to Web sites
    infected with malware. Fake email news alerts allegedly coming from CNN or
    the BBC exploited breaking news stories, such as the election of the new
    pope and the financial crisis in Cyprus. They linked to Web sites carrying
    the Blackhole exploit kit.
  oThe United States was the largest source of spam in the first quarter of
    2013, topping the list of spam senders with a share of 9.1 percent of the
    overall volume. The United States was followed by Belarus (6.5%), Spain
    (5.6%), Argentina (5.0%) and India (4.3%).

"The dramatic rise in the quantity of unwanted and dangerous emails during the
first quarter of 2013 shows that email communication is still one of the key
attack vectors," said Avi Turiel, director of threat research and market
analysis at Commtouch. "Email is still the most popular communication tool for
private users and businesses alike, making it an attractive target for
cybercriminals. The rise in both emails with malware attachments and
drive-by-attacks also indicates that malware distributors don't shift their
focus from one attack vector to another. To the contrary, they diversify their
attack methods in order to increase the efficiency of their campaigns and in
order to bypass some anti-spam and antivirus measures."

The Commtouch Internet Threat Analysis Team regularly publishes related
statistics within its report. The quarterly report is compiled based on a
comprehensive analysis of billions of daily transactions handled by
Commtouch's GlobalView™ Cloud.

To view the Commtouch Q1 Internet Threats Trend Report, visit:
http://www.commtouch.com/threat-report-April-2013.

About Commtouch

Commtouch^® (NASDAQ: CTCH) is a leading provider of Internet security
technology and cloud-based services for vendors and service providers,
increasing the value and profitability of our customer's solutions by
protecting billions of Internet transactions on a daily basis. With 12 global
data centers and award-winning, patented technology, Commtouch's email, Web,
and antivirus capabilities easily integrate into our customers' products and
solutions, keeping safe more than 350 million end users. To learn more, visit
http://www.commtouch.com.

  oBlog: http://blog.commtouch.com/cafe
  oFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/commtouch
  oLinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/commtouch
  oTwitter: @Commtouch

Recurrent Pattern Detection, RPD, Zero-Hour and GlobalView are trademarks, and
Commtouch is a registered trademark of Commtouch. U.S. Patent No. 6,330,590 is
owned by Commtouch. All other trademarks are the property of their respective
owners.

Company Contact:
Brian Briggs, Chief Financial Officer
Commtouch
+1-703-760-3444
brian.briggs@commtouch.com

IsraelInvestor Relations Contact:
Iris Lubitch
EffectiveIR
+972-3-5664007
Iris@EffectiveIR.co.il

U.S.Investor Contact:  
Christopher Chu
Grayling
+1-646-284-9400
commtouch@grayling.com

Commtouch Media Contact:
Matthew Zintel
Zintel Public Relations
+1-281-444-1590
matthew.zintel@zintelpr.com

SOURCE Commtouch
 
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