According to multiple surveys, SPAM is only getting worse, not better, as spammers get more creative and devious. Postini (www.postini.com), a California-based communications security and compliance company, released a study that found total SPAM has increased 222 percent since 2005, and 125 percent since October 2006. The company also revealed that many are now shifting from trying to insert Internet worm viruses to creating botnets, or software robots, that in turn send out more SPAM from infected computers. A recent Ferris Research report detailing the cost of spam in the United States and on a global scale estimated that in 2005, U.S businesses spent $17 billion to combat SPAM, up from $10 billion in 2003.
Perhaps more frightening, though, is the increase in new malware (defined as a software used to damage a computer system without the owner's consent) is occurring via infected websites. While email infection using viruses has dipped, according to a study by software company Sophos (www.sophos.com), email threats via malware in the first quarter of 2007 has doubled compared to the first quarter of 2006. On websites, Sophos found that a daily average of 5,000 new infected sites occurred between January and March of 2007.
Interestingly, while hackers are responsible for a large percentage of the attacks, almost three quarters of the infected sites are legitimate sites that have become vulnerable to attack due to a lack of applying updated patches, or because of poor coding and site maintenance.