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).   (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120501/529254 )  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