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Commtouch Security Number of the Month September 2013: 22 Hours is the Average Time in which Malware Distributors Exploit News

Commtouch Security Number of the Month September 2013: 22 Hours is the Average
            Time in which Malware Distributors Exploit News Events

Interest in Syrian Conflict Presents Cybercriminals and Spammers an
Opportunity to Preempt Breaking News

PR Newswire

MCLEAN, Va., Sept. 26, 2013

MCLEAN, Va., Sept. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cybercriminals continue to respond
with lightning speed when they see an opportunity to exploit a national or
global news story to spread malware. In fact, the Commtouch Security Lab now
sees instances of criminals inventing "breaking news" that appears to relate
to high-profile current events.


The Commtouch Security Lab continually analyzes malicious campaigns that
exploit breaking news using the CNN name and other prominent news outlets to
lure email recipients to malicious sites. The average time between an actual
news event and its exploitation hovered around 22 hours during the last three

On Friday, September 6, malware distributors invented fake news designed to
take advantage of public interest in the possibility of a U.S. airstrike
against Syria. The emails used the subject line, "The United States Began
Bombing," and were crafted to appear as a legitimate CNN news alert. It is an
example of the cybercriminal community harnessing the interest and anxiousness
about current events to increase the success of their malicious campaigns.

Prior to the Syria-related example, the average start time for a virus attack
was already decreasing.  In March 2013, when the new Pope was elected, the
first malware and phishing attacks began after 55 hours. In April 2013, after
the Boston Marathon bombing, it took 27 hours to see the first related attacks
exploiting interest in the event. Further examples include the newborn royal
baby and news about the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.  But examples such
as the recent Syria-related campaign in September show that spammers are not
waiting around – they are becoming even "faster" than the events themselves.

Each month, the research team at Commtouch^® (NASDAQ: CTCH), a leading
provider of Internet security technology and cloud-based services, presents
the "Commtouch Security Number of the Month" – a number representing a current
issue or trend in Internet security.

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 customers' 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 550 million end users. To learn more, visit

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SOURCE Commtouch

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