July 6, 2006 7:31 AM PDT

Spim, splog on the rise

Spammers are increasingly turning to mobile text-messaging, Web-based instant messaging, blogs and social-networking communities such as MySpace.com, according to mail services company MessageLabs.

The company, which sells a Web-filtering and instant messaging service, said in a report Thursday that spammers are increasingly targeting new means of communication to "bypass e-mail-based antispam measures and more effectively target recipients based on their age, location and other characteristics."

Social-networking sites offer spammers a "new level of convergence and capability to profile people," said Mark Sunner, chief technical officer at MessageLabs.

MessageLabs has also seen an increase in IM spam, also known as spim, which can be malicious.

"On IM and on the Web, we've seen a huge hike in link spam," Sunner told ZDNet UK. "Spammers send just a hyperlink, which can lead to a malicious site, or a phishing site," he said.

MessageLabs expects "cross-pollination" of ill-intended software across different protocols. It also said growing convergence between different proprietary Web-based IM systems will also help spammers.

"We expect more cross-fertilization of (malicious software) as Yahoo, MSN and Google become one big blob, from an IM standpoint," Sunner said, adding that MessageLabs may start to sell services focusing on blog spam, also referred to as splog, but that was "perhaps something for the future."

In June, spam made up 64.8 percent of global e-mail traffic, an increase of 6.9 percent over the previous month, according to the report.

This was due to a fluctuation in the number of operational networks of compromised computers sending out spam, MessageLabs said.

"Over the year, spam levels are like a sine wave--they ebb and flow in tandem with botnet distributions--with how botnets grow and shrink. The bad guys seed more, but then more measures are taken against them," Sunner said.

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
MessageLabs Ltd., spim, spammer, spam, blog

4 comments

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spam, splog, spim...what's next?
First came spam, then splog, spim, what's next...spmail? spfantasy baseball?

Hackers have done a great job of annoying the living heck out of us and a 9% increase in spam mail means that regardless of how hard we try to avoid it, they will try even harder to shove it in our faces. Email used to be the easiest form of communication but now it is one of the most difficult because of all the necessary security precautions. If June brought a 9% increase in spam, who knows where the e-mail world will be come December...
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.essentialsecurity.com/Documents/article10.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.essentialsecurity.com/Documents/article10.htm</a>
Posted by Nkully86 (59 comments )
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spext
I believe the up and coming thing will be...spext messaging.
Posted by washedaway (5 comments )
Link Flag
Server protection?
I am not that technical, but I've heard a lot of servers are exploited as email servers by malicious persons. Of course for Spam.
Why not make protecting servers mandatory for hosting companies? Why not demand they protection (and check it) when someone host his server or make a connection from their own servers to the internet?
Must be possible to detect.
Perhaps some "labelling" of companies that take care of protecting their servers?
Or is this to simple thinking?
Posted by Vorobushek (1 comment )
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There ought to be a place for spam mail. Once we figure out how to block communications to SPAM servers, and have SPIMs and SPLogs in check, in addition to blocking them to a user, that the spam gets re-routed to a repository that posts these messages and scans for any illegal content (pictures, music, etc) so we can all point and laugh at all of the spam stuff that's floating around on the web at our own leisure, instead of having it shoved in our face.

Hell, it might actually benefit companies that're looking for attention. Spam and get seen? :/
Posted by bluufoxx (4 comments )
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