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The Internet threat alert status is currently normal. At present, no major epidemics or other serious incidents have been recorded by Kaspersky Lab’s monitoring service. Internet threat level: 1

Types of spam

Today spam is a household word. Approximately 70-80% of all email traffic is spam. It means that active correspondence via email is impossible without spam protection.

Spam does not have any language barriers

Although spam written in English is the most common, it comes in all languages including Chinese, Korean and other Asian languages.

Variety of spam

In most cases spam is advertising.

Experience shows that spammers target specific goods and services which they seek to promote. Some goods are chosen because a computer user is likely to be interested, but most are grey or black market goods. In other words, spam is usually illegal, not only because of the means used to advertise the goods, but also because the goods and services being offered are themselves illegal.

Other mass mailings are outright fraud. For example, a recipient is asked to provide their bank account details. Of course, if the recipient provides these details, their bank account will be emptied without their consent. This type of spam is usually called 'scam'. Another shining example of fraud is Nigerian letters.

The commonest types of spam

Spam worldwide tends to advertise a certain range of goods and services irrespective of language and geography. Additionally, spam reflects seasonal changes, with advertisements for Christmas items and car heaters being replaced by air conditioner advertising in summer.

Spammers constantly extend the range of their offers and are always searching for new ways of attracting unwary users. The list of spam categories is growing. The share of “new” categories in spam traffic is insignificant, though certain trends are quite evident when spam categories are broken down. Nevermore so than in the most widespread types of spam:

However, when averaged out over the course of the year, 50% of spam falls into the following categories:

  1. Adult content
  2. Health
  3. IT
  4. Personal finance
  5. Education and training

Adult content spam

This category of spam includes offers for products designed to increase or enhance sexual potency, links to porn sites or advertisements for pornography etc.

Over the last few years the prevalence of this spam category has receded, to be replaced by other mailings. Three years ago, offers of access to pornographic sites led the field, however, today this type of spam is negligible. The quantity of this type of mailing in Western languages is reducing while the situation with Russian-language spam is the opposite – its volumes are growing. Russian-language adult content spam nearly always contains offers from dating agencies and advertisements for pornographic websites.

Example (we include basic texts but no graphics for ethical reasons):

Subject: very cheap erection tool :-)

Good day!

We would like to offer cheapest Viagra in the world!

You can get it at:

{LINK}

Sincerely,

Liza Stokes

Subject: i think you're gonna like watching me get off :-)
Hi...im Brooke..and I just got a webcam...lets have a little chat.. while you watch me get dirty .. haha;-)

{LINK}

Health and Medicine

This category includes advertisements for weight loss, skin care, posture improvement, cures for baldness, dietary supplements and non-traditional medication etc. which can all be bought on-line.

Example:

Subject: Lose up to 19% weight. A new weightloss is here.

Hello, I have a special offer for you...

WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT?

The most powerful weightloss is now available
without prescription. All natural Adipren720
100% Money Back Guarantee!

- Lose up to 19% Total Body Weight.
- Up to 300% more Weight Loss while dieting.
- Loss of 20-35% abdominal Fat.
- Reduction of 40-70% overall Fat under skin.
- Increase metabolic rate by 76.9% without Exercise.
- Burns calorized fat.
- Suppresses appetite for sugar.
- Boost your Confidence level and Self Esteem.

Get the facts about all-natural Adipren720: {LINK}

Subject: Legal Low prices for Valium (Diazepam) (Caffeine FREE)

Rx Shopping Service Brings You our Newest Product:

Your personal shopping service that legally provides
Over the Counter (OTC) approved drugs from Canada and
around the world.

Order Valium (Diazepam) and it will be
guaranteed Delivery within 7 DAYS!

Do not miss out *Limited Quantity!

Visit Here: {LINK}

Computers and the Internet

This category includes offers for low-priced hardware and software as well as services for website owners such as hosting, domain registration, website optimization and so forth.

Example:

Subject: Huge savings on OEM Software. All brand names available now stewardess

Looking for not expensive high-quality software?
We might have just what you need.

Windows XP Professional 2002 ............. $50
Adobe Photoshop 7.0 ...................... $60
Microsoft Office XP Professional 2002 .... $60
Corel Draw Graphics Suite 11 ............. $60

and lots more...

Personal finance

Spam which falls into this category offers insurance, debt reduction services, loans with low interest rates etc.

Examples:

Subject: Lenders Compete--You Win

Reduce your mortgage payments

Interest Rates are Going Up!
Give Your Family The Financial Freedom They Deserve

Refinance Today & SAVE
*Quick & EASY
*CONFIDENTIAL
*100's Of Lenders
*100% FREE
*Get The Lowest Rate

Apply Today! {LINK}

All credit will be accepted

To clear your name from our database please {LINK}or use one of the optins below.
Thank You

Call 1-800-279-7310
Or please mail us at:
1700 E. Elliot Rd. STE3-C4
Tempe, AZ. 85283

Education

This category includes offers for seminars, training and online degrees.

Examples:

Subject: get a degree from home, Mas#ters, Bachelors or PHD

Call {Phone Num.} to inquire about our degree programs.

Whether you are seeking a Bachelors, Masters, Ph.D. or MBA

We can provide you with the fully verifiable credentials to get your career BACK ON TRACK!

No testing or coursework required Call: {Phone Num.}

we are sorry if you did not want to receive this mail.

To be removed from our list please call {Phone Num.}

Some new trends in spam content

Spammers are constantly seeking to enter new markets and develop new techniques. Some areas are evolving rapidly and should be monitored closely.

Political spam

This category includes mudslinging or political threats from extremists and possible terrorists. Though these are merely nuisance messages to end users, security and law enforcement officials need to be aware of such mailings, since they can provide clues to genuine potential threats, or may be actual communication between terrorists.

Examples:

Subject: <без темы>
голосуй за Глазьева, ЦБ продался США

Antispam solutions

Spammers advertise supposed anti-spam solutions in an effort to cash in on the negative publicity generated by spam itself. However, such offers often lead the user to sites where a Trojan will be downloaded to the victim machine, which will then be used for future mass mailings.

Example:

Subject: Join the thousands who are now sp@m-free

FORGET SPAM BLOCKERS!

Get SMART Spam Control That Always Delivers The Email You Want!

Finally, we discovered the ultimate solution that is guaranteed to stop all spam
without losing any of your important email! This revolutionary advanced technology
also protects you 100% against ALL email-borne viruses — both known and unknown.

We didn't believe it either until we actually tried it. So you be the judge and see for yourself.

{LINK}

Spam, viruses and junk email

Anti-spam specialists define spam as unsolicited anonymous bulk advertising via email. However, most people class all unsolicited email as spam, including automatic replies, emails containing viruses and unsolicited, but legitimate business propositions. Classifying all such emails as spam is broadly correct, because spammers often use special techniques for some types of attacks. For example, several times virus epidemics were registered where viruses were circulated using spammer techniques.

Virus epidemics result in the growth of spam traffic. They create large quantities of messages containing viruses and other types of unwanted email, for example ‘harmless’ messages with the virus blocked by some antivirus solution, or numerous auto replies informing a user about a virus in the correspondence sent from his computer. These messages block communication channels and email boxes and mean that developers of anti-spam filtering technologies are forced to take urgent measures.

The growing alliance developing between virus writers and spammers is worrying. The first half of 2004 brought several virus epidemics whereby viruses were circulated using spammer techniques. These outbreaks were classic examples of how botnets can be created by virus writers, and then sold on to spammers for use in future mass mailings