Published On: Thu, May 8th, 2014

US Once Again the Major Target for Malicious Emails

Kaspersky Lab

The story starts somewhat like this – In the first quarter of Fiscal 2014 spammers from their end started imitating messages from mobile applications. They chiefly like the popular mobile messengers WhatsApp, followed by Viber besides Google Hangouts: notifications purportedly sent from these applications were used to be able to spread both malware as well as harmless adverts. The growing popularity involving mobile devices means that phishing attacks targeting Apple IDs are becoming more recurrent.

Several gadget owners are used both to synchronization of their contacts and to the fact that messages from mobile applications can arrive via email, so certainly enough few would be suspicious of the fact that WhatsApp is not directly linked to an email service. This dearth of caution could prove costly, as the attached archive contained the notorious Backdoor.Win32.Androm.bjkd, whose main function stands to steal personal data from users.

“Recently we have seen a growth in the number of attacks targeting mobile users. Gadgets have become popular even among those who had little interaction with computers and are less familiar with computer security. This opens up new vectors of attacks for spammers and phishers. To protect themselves, users should remember not to open emails from unknown senders and especially not to click any links in these emails, which inevitably pose a risk to user security. Clicking unsafe links threatens user security regardless of which device is used – they pose a danger to desktop computers and mobile gadgets alike,” alleged Darya Gudkova, Head of Content Analysis & Research Department at Kaspersky Lab.

  • Where has all the spam gone?

The list of countries most habitually under attack via malicious emails has undergone some changes ever since the third quarter of last year. The US’s share (14%) grew 3.68 pp while the contribution of the UK (9.9%) and Germany (9.6%) reduced by 2.27 and 1.34 pp correspondingly. Consequently, the US, which was third in the previous quarter, returned to the top of the rating in Q1 2014.

  • Sources of spam by country

The top three spam sources remained unchanged from the previous quarter: China (-0.34 pp), the US (+1.23 percentage points) plus South Korea (-0.91 pp).

  • Phishing

The email and search portals category topped the rating of the phishers’ most popular targets (36.6% of all attacks).Second came social networking sites with 26% followed by financial and e-pay organizations and banks (14.7%)

  • Malicious attachments in email              

The main goal of most malicious programs distributed via email is to steal confidential data. Nevertheless, in Q1 malware adept at spreading spam and launching DDoS attacks was also popular. Most popular malicious programs are now multifunctional: they can steal data from the victim computer, make the computer part of a botnet, or download as well as install other malicious programs sans the user’s knowledge.

  • The percentage of spam in email traffic

The percentage of spam in total email traffic for the duration of the first quarter of the year came to 66.34%, down 6.42 pp from the previous quarter. On the other hand, compared with the same period of Q1 2013, the share of spam in Q1 2014 hardly changed, plummeting by only 0.16 pp.

About the Author

Jawed Akhtar

- A Journalist by interest and a Music Enthusiast by passion. Wedded to Mother Nature, Jawed indulges his aesthetics in travelling and reading books of varied genres. Having covered News stories for top Dailies in his formative years, that is, he is game for tryst with Technology at Techmagnifier.

US Once Again the Major Target for Malicious Emails