Who wants some forged educational documents that will help you get a job in some foreign country? The answer, it would seem, is lots and lots of people. At least that would explain why spam advertising fake diplomas has topped the list of junk mail subject matter for China, South Korea and Vietnam according to the latest McAfee Internet Threat Report which was published today.

The report, covering the threat landscape for the first quarter of 2010, also reveals that while email subjects vary greatly from country to country, diploma spam coming out of China and other Asian countries is on the rise and a cause for concern. This suggests that while China may no longer be a major player in the relaying of spam, it is still producing plenty of the stuff albeit in a highly targeted fashion. Meanwhile, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan have exceptional rates for Delivery Status Notification spam indicating a possible issue with preventative mail-filtering capabilities.

Elsewhere, McAfee discovered that Thailand, Romania, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Colombia, Chile and Brazil have a higher portion of malware infections and spam which is probably down to the significant Internet growth these countries have experienced over the past five years coupled to an inevitable lag as far as security awareness is concerned.

Across the planet, spammers and malware merchants are leveraging major news events to poison Internet searches with the Haiti and Chile earthquake disasters leading the sick list followed by the Toyota recall and the Apple iPad launch.

"Our latest threat report verifies that trends in malware and spam continue to grow at our predicted rates" said Mike Gallagher, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Global Threat Intelligence for McAfee. "Previously emerging trends, such as AutoRun malware, are now at the forefront. We were also surprised to find some of geographic difference in spam related topics, such as the volume of diploma spam coming out of China".

About the Author

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

I also do wonder if the spammers from China moved to other parts of the world and that is why McAfee is seeing this shift. What do you think?

spammers aren't moving from China to other parts of the world, they're just expanding their operations to involve new grounds with high levels of vulnerable computers to use as their botnets as more and more countries get an internetted telecommunications architecture.
McAffee aren't the only ones noticing it, but are usually the ones with the most flashy press releases so it's them the mainstream media pick up on as their source of information.