Spammers moving to social networks and mobile channels

According to Jamie Tomasello, abuse operations manager at Cloudmark, one of the main reasons why we are seeing a drop in global spam is because fraudsters are shifting their focus onto more lucrative social networking and mobile channels.

These platforms, she says, allow spammers to reach a much more responsive recipient compared with traditional email messages.

"Technically, a botnet can send any kind of content and so they are increasingly being used to send messages that spoof content from social networking sites. This works in a similar way to email phishing attacks, where a message would drive the recipient to a malicious payload, or to a website to capture the recipients social network credentials", she said.

"The cybercriminal could then log in to the social networking site with the compromised credentials and send spam via the platform to the compromised recipient's friends", ahe added.

Tomasello went on to say that these types of messages can be much more convincing than email spam messages because social networks, and the friends a user is connected with, are often well trusted.

And once a cybercriminal has compromised credentials they will use them to try and gain access to other e-commerce, social network, email or bank accounts, "and as we're increasingly being reminded, many internet users still use the same username and password combination across multiple web sites", she noted.

Cloudmark's abuse operations manager added that, in the situation where one account has been hacked, companies should then assume all of their accounts have been compromised.

"Even though global levels have dropped, there will not actually be any discernible drop in email spam coming into the inbox of end users", she explained.

Tomasello went on to say that the massive reduction in spam being reported is only noticeable before any security mechanisms have been implemented.

"As all large scale mail providers have systems in place that reject connections from known botnet IPs, all of this spam would have been blocked by IP reputation (DNS block lists) anyway", she said.

"This is good news for the internet and mail providers, as it frees up bandwidth and means less resources are needed to man the defences as the volumes of attacks are lower" , she added.

What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?