TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Gangs and Spam

Gangs and Spam (
Sun, 7 Aug 2005 23:11:45 -0500

IBM Says Gangs Now Behind Most Spam

In the early days of the Internet, geeky hackers competed to see who
could create the most diabolical computer viruses. The motivation was
a twisted kind of bragging rights. But a study released by IBM says
hackers today have a different motivation -- profit.

In its Global Business Security Index, the computer giant says email
continues to grow as a security menace, with messages often disguised
as communications from legitimate entities that seek to pry personal
and financial information from the unsuspecting. Believed to be
largely driven by criminal gangs, "phishing" was tied to 35.7 million
emails in the first half of 2005.

The experts also noted an increase in "spear phishing," highly
targeted and coordinated attacks at a specific organization or
individual designed to extract critical data. Also, more and more
electronic messages contain viruses that can harm computer or network

The overall volume of viruses has exploded. In January of 2004, one in
every 129 emails contained a virus; by June of this year, infections
had spread to one in every 28 emails.

The first half of 2005 saw more than 237 million security attacks
overall, more than 20 percent of which were aimed at government
computers. The United States was overwhelmingly the target location for
attacks (12 million), followed distantly by New Zealand (1.2 million)
and China (1 million).

Surprisingly, spam, unsolicited and unwanted email, provided a bright
spot in the study. The ratio of spam to legitimate email continuously
decreased over the course of the last six months, from 83 percent in
January to 67 percent in June 2005. Although some of this decrease is
due to spammers getting fewer reponses from net users, and simply
getting tired from fewer positive results and giving up their efforts,
much of the decease is also attributed to netters taking a more
agressive seek/search out/destroy posture as well.

"IBM advises its clients to rapidly adopt a holistic, enterprise-wide
approach to security and risk management," said John Lutz, general
manager of IBM's Financial Services Sector.

Copyright 2003-2005 ConsumerAffairs.Com Inc.

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