Man in business attire writing a lot of emails

(Credit: Mitchell Communications Group)

Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) disclosed its July 2012 Symantec Intelligence Report findings that focus on spam, malware and phishing attacks committed from late June to late July.

According to data gathered in July 2012, the number of Web attacks has increased three fold as compared to the last half of 2011. Due to unsuspecting users, attackers usually lure users to Web attack toolkits by using a variety of social engineering tricks suck as emails or social networking attacks. These usually contain harmful links to direct users to genuine websites that have been tampered with in which the attacker has initially installed a Web attack toolkit.

Spam : Global ratio of spam in email traffic increased from 66.8 percent in June to 67.6 percent in July, marking an increase of 0.8 percent. In Singapore, the spam rate increased to 66.6 percent in July from 65.8 percent in June.

Phishing : In July, every one in 475.3 emails includes some form of phishing attack.

Email-borne threats : In July, global ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic was one in 340.9 emails, showing a decrease of 0.023 percent since June. July shows a 1.5 percent increase since June resulting in 26.5 percent of email-borne malware contained links to malicious Web sites.

This comprehensive reports also shows how attackers are using Olympic themed hashtags on Twitter to spread malicious code, pushing threats with popular Olympic-themed Android apps and creating spam and phishing scams that are not what it seem to be. These attackers formulate plans to trick users into downloading malware. The Olympic theme has been the major contributing scam content, doubling from late May to late July, when the Games began. Scams include fake promo emails from MasterCard promising trips to the Games and fake gift cards from Visa in order to get recipient’s personal information.

Geographical Trends:


·         In Hong Kong, 67 percent of email was blocked as spam and 66.6 percent in Singapore compared with 64.1 percent in Japan

·         In the US, 67.7 percent of email was spam and 67.9 percent in Canada

·         The spam level in the UK was 68.5 percent


·         South Africa was the second-most targeted country, with one in 171.2 emails identified as phishing attacks

·         In Australia, phishing activity accounted for one in 752.1 emails and one in 2,241.4 in Hong Kong; for Japan it was one in 7,448.8 and one in 3,450.6 for Singapore

·         Phishing levels for the US reached one in 995.5 and one in 244.9 for Canada

·         In Germany phishing levels were one in 1,091.0, one in 719.6 in Denmark

·         In Brazil one in 786.2 emails was blocked as phishing

Email-borne threats

·         The Netherlands remained the geography with the highest ratio of malicious email activity in July, with one in 82.2 emails identified as malicious

·         For Japan the rate was one in 2,083.7, compared with one in 902.3 in Singapore

·         In Australia, one in 634.5 emails was malicious

·         In Brazil, one in 445.1 emails contained malicious content

Vertical Trends:

·         The Education sector was the most spammed industry sector in July, with a spam rate of 70.3 percent; the spam rate for the Automotive sector was 69.0 percent

·         The spam rate for the Chemical & Pharmaceutical sector was 67.9 percent, compared with 67.7 percent for IT Services, 67.7 percent for Retail, 68.8 percent for Public Sector and 67.2 percent for Finance

·         The Public Sector remained the most targeted by phishing activity in July, with one in 113.3 emails comprising a phishing attack

·         Phishing levels for the Chemical & Pharmaceutical sector reached one in 1,119.1 and one in 750.9 for the IT Services sector, one in 1,023.0 for Retail, one in 335.8 for Education, one in 285.9 for Finance, and one in 2,068.1 for the Automotive industry

·         With one in 85.3 emails being blocked as malicious, the Public Sector remained the most targeted industry in July

·         The virus rate for the Chemical & Pharmaceutical sector reached one in 322.7 and one in 503.3 for the IT Services sector; one in 596.1 for Retail, one in 210.6 for Education and one in 301.8 for Finance.

Market Trends:

·         Phishing attacks targeting small to medium-sized businesses accounted for one in 363.8 emails, compared with one in 418.3 for large enterprises.

·         Malicious email-borne attacks destined for small to medium-sized businesses accounted for one in 404.4 emails, compared with one in 214.4 for large enterprises.

Featured Image Credits: Hacker Journals