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A Tale of Porn, Drugs, Spam, Twitter and Zombies

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(happygeek)
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If you were asked to paint a verbal picture of the Internet in just five words, would they be porn, drugs, spam, Twitter and zombies? After analyzing an amazing two billion emails a day for three months, that's the image arrived at by one research outfit.

commtouchimage.jpg The latest Internet Threat report from Commtouch , released today, contains little in the way of surprise: unless those five words have been off your security risk radar that is.

Based upon the analysis of more than two billion email messages every day, and apparently that is the correct figure, as well as the GlobalView URL database within the company's cloud-based network the Commtouch report is nothing if not extensive in reach. As far as the quarter two report that has been published today is concerned, the real story is the ever increasing use of blended attacks by the cybercriminal fraternity. Combining general messaging with Web-based and social engineering elements the bad guys hope to increase their success rates.

They tend to use email, or search engines for that matter, to lure their victims onto mainly genuine but compromised websites which are being covertly used to host spam advertising, malware, or phishing scams. I say covertly, as the honest owners of the majority of these compromised sites have absolutely no idea that they are being used for these nefarious purposes. Of course, the sad fact of the matter is they also have no idea about IT security either or their websites would not have been so compromised in the first place.

"Cybercriminals have been forced to change their techniques to evade improved detection technology," said Asaf Greiner, Commtouch vice president, products. "Complex multi-stage attacks with improved social engineering are proving to be the preferred technique."

The highlights, or perhaps I should say lowlights to be more accurate, of the report include:

Porn Despite some recent reports to the contrary suggesting that porn sites aren't that dangerous after all , according to the Commtouch analysis porn remains the single most 'infected with malware' website category.

Drugs Pharmacy spam retained the top spot amongst cybercriminals, representing some 64% of all spam.

Spam At the start of May spam, as a volume of all email traffic throughput, was 71% and this rose to 92% by the end of June. The quarterly average being a whopping big 82%. Still, that's good news in a way as the numbers are down on the quarter one report.

Twitter While both Gmail and Yahoo! managed to hold on to their top spots as being hotspots for spoofed domains used in phishing email distribution schemes, Twitter has now also entered the top six. The Twitter domain being used, for example, in a very widespread email campaign constructed so as to lure innocent users onto a fake password reset page that was hosting malware.

Zombies When it came to zombie activity, this was up over the prior quarter with an average of 307,000 zombies being activated daily to inflict malicious activity. India now has the most zombies in the world with 13% of the global total.

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Davey Winder

I'm a hacker turned writer and consultant, specialising in IT security. I've been a freelance word punk for over 20 years and along the way I have seen 23 of my books published, produced and presented programmes for TV and radio, picked up a bunch of awards and continue being a contributing editor with PC Pro - the best selling IT magazine in the UK .

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Rashakil Fol
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Why are the circles pointing at each other? Am I going to get virused? HELP! IM SCARED

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hindlist
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I think the circles are interelated. As a whole internet moves mostly on these circles.

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happygeek
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Indeed, it's just a visual representation of the Internet circle of life :)

Visit a fake Twitter URL, end up at a zombie host, get spammed with email offering sex and drugs.

Or something...

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popin
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no no no its your daily rootine as a hardcore geek

i get up
\/
i turn on computer
\/
i porn (turn on myself)
\/
i drug up (gotta have me caffine)
\/
i twitter about my day so far (since my last tweet)
\/
i kill some zombies (in a game, i couldn't kill a real zombie)

rinse and repeat

lol jk interesting article odd that twitter came up and not face book or something and drugs was a bit of a shock too, (zombies means zombie machines? why's that in a person's description of the net? i mean year there are a lot of them out there but their not meant to be seen?)

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MegaMedia
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What bollox! What is actually happening is that genuine business breakthroughs are being negated by an underground task force, involved in discrediting legal activity by connecting it to crime. Your complex notion of "social engineering" is just a way to justify this irregular behavior by invoking hocus- pocus. Legal and legitimate messages are being tagged for negative attention and non-delivery by competitors who find themselves at a loss in the highly competitive area of creating new pathways to top of mind awareness. It is much easier to tag the competitor's e-mail, than to admit you have no creative response to a brilliant idea. By labeling your competitors messages as "drug spam", (something which can be done under the cloak of anonymity), you can destroy a well planned and executed public media campaign.
Weak and cowardly responses like this are what make the internet a mess which is often not worth the trouble.The real criminals are so called "respectable insiders" with unusually itchy fingers, and way too much access. Here is a warning, and it lies in the figures: As the numbers of marketers on the net go up, so the effectiveness of the system goes down. A vast amount of internet advertising will never be seen by the intended target market. I am warning all my clients to search wider. The Golden Days are over. Back to pure creativity. We who are reliant on communications to earn a living, can no longer afford to be at the mercy of techno geeks and miscreants who treat the internet as their own private plaything. The Golden Goose is being strangled in full view of it's keeper. Is he on drugs?

LastMitch
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"Cybercriminals have been forced to change their techniques to evade improved detection technology," said Asaf Greiner, Commtouch vice president, products. "Complex multi-stage attacks with improved social engineering are proving to be the preferred technique."

I agree with the report and statistic. This is a interesting article. I like the diagram, it's in full circle. It remind me of that image from the movie 28 Day later.

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GrimJack
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From the title of this thread, I was sure someone had leaked my journal - whew!

Actually I think the illustration should actually be more Venn-like, hmmm - Venn and the art of the internat.

Please note that porn has been the driver of much of the technology of reproduction (pun un/intended), most recently video, cd, dvd and even the internet.

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