The MessageLabs Intelligence Report for May 2008 has revealed that spam levels have risen across all industry sectors, but manufacturing remains the leading vertical as far as spam activity is concerned at 83.7 percent. The biggest rise, however, can be found in the non-profit sector with spam levels up by 7 percent to 81.3 percent. The retail sector sits at 80 percent, the public sector 75.7 percent and finance 71.7 percent. The finance sector also saw 1 in every 248.2 emails containing some kind of virus activity, although that is way behind the 1 in 43.8 infected emails that can be found in the accommodation and catering sector.

Perhaps the most disturbing revelation in the report is that spam levels are back on the up, with overall levels hitting 76.8 percent of all emails in May which is a level not seen since early in 2007 according to MessageLabs.

“The savvy, intelligent and accurate cybercriminals of today seem to have abandoned the attachments tactic that was so innovative in late 2007 and are now focused on exploiting free hosted applications which have become mainstream in 2008,” said Mark Sunner, Chief Security Analyst, MessageLabs. “The spammers are taking advantage of the fact that these services are free, provide ample bandwidth and are rarely blacklisted; this is one more addition to the growing list of ways the spammers have succeeded in outsmarting traditional detection devices.”