BOSTON -- If youve received a blind e-card from family members, colleagues, partners, secret admirers and others, you are not alone. An estimated 9 million e-card spam messages have been transmitted in the past 48 hours according to Sophos, a world leader in IT security and control. This figure is based on recent projections on spam traffic noted in an August 6 New Yorker* article and SophosLabss research.
The New Yorker article reports that 171 billion email messages are sent every day. SophosLabs estimates that spam accounts for about 80 percent of the total number of emails sent. That means approximately 136 billion spam messages fill inboxes daily. Within the last 48 hours alone, SophosLabs notes that malicious e-card spam accounts for 6.3 percent of all spam seen in its spam traps, equaling 9 million messages.
Over the past few weeks, Sophos has detected a resurgence in the release of e-card spam. Such campaigns use social engineering by way of suggesting a friend or relative has created an e-card just for you. These cards can be accessed by visiting the link included in the spam email message. However, there is nothing heartwarming about this scam. Visiting the link will result in your PC becoming infected and will expose it to further threats.
Interestingly, the malware pointed to by the link in the current e-card spam are from the same families of malware used in the waves of Storm Trojan spam that wreaked havoc on the Internet earlier this year (see http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/news/articles/2007/01/malwarestorm.html and http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/news/articles/2007/01/stormreturns.html).
With more than six percent of all spam in the last 48 hours being related to an e-card scam, it demonstrates that such campaigns are just as prevalent as the earlier Storm Trojan campaigns, said Ron OBrein, Sophoss senior security analyst. Sophos reminds users to use safe online practices when opening email attachments, as malware writers are continuously re-writing codes to bypass spam filters.