Cybercriminals launch multi-stage attacks

Cybercriminals have reportedly increased their effectiveness by launching “multi-stage” attacks that combine messaging with other Web activities. 

“[Criminal elements] have been forced to change their techniques to evade improved detection technology,” Commtouch VP Asaf Greiner told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

“Complex multi-stage attacks with improved social engineering are proving to be the preferred technique.”

According to Greiner, criminal elements exploit email and search engine results to lure victims to sites which host spam advertising, malware, or phishing.

“[Our] Q2 report analyzes the many methods fraudsters, malware distributors and spammers use to inspire their victims to action.

“[Methods vary], such as leveraging trusted brands like Apple and Google; holidays, such as Mother’s Day; or current events, for example, the Football World Cup.”

Other highlights from the Commtouch Q2 Trend Report include:

  • Spam levels averaged 82% of all email traffic throughout the quarter, bottoming out at 71% at the start of May and peaking at nearly 92% near the end of June.
  • Pharmacy spam retained the top spot with 64 percent of all spam.
  • An average of 307,000 zombies were activated daily to inflict malicious activity, representing a slight increase over the prior quarter.
  • India has surpassed Brazil for the title of the country with the most zombies (13 percent of the world’s total).
  • TDSS.17 was the most widely distributed email-borne virus, but the Mal/Bredo malware had the most variants – over 1800 (more than double the variants of Q1).
  • Pornography remains the Web site category most infected with malware.
  • In the Web 2.0 sphere of user-generated content, streaming media/downloads is the most popular topic for blog creators.