Between January and March 2009, 302,000 computers were infected with malware to redistribute spam

May 1, 2009

3 Min Read


GLENDALE, Calif., April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- PandaLabs, Panda Security's malware analysis and detection laboratory, today announced that less than seven percent of emails that reached companies in the first quarter of 2009 were legitimate correspondence. Some 91 percent of messages were spam, while 1.6 percent, or more than 1.1 million messages, were infected with some type of malware. This data is based on the analysis by TrustLayer Mail, the clean mail managed service from Panda Security, which examined 69 million email messages sent in the first quarter of 2009.

The amount of spam detected between January and March 2009 has increased slightly with respect to the same period in 2008, when spam accounted for 90 percent of the email received by companies. With respect to the different types of spam, the amount of junk mail related to false job offers rose significantly, probably due to the global recession and associated unemployment rates.

"Cyber-crooks have been exploiting the desperate economic situation of the unemployed by offering enticing, too-good-to-be-true jobs. Their real aim, however, is to recruit money-mules; i.e. trick people into laundering money through their bank accounts," explains Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs.

A table of the various types of email messages sent each month during the first quarter can be found here, as well as a graphical breakdown of the source countries from which malware was sent can be found here:

Included below are highlights of recent findings in Q109:

-- Approximately 302,000 computers were newly infected and turned into zombies to redistribute spam. -- The U.S. remains the leading source of spam during the first quarter of 2009, accounting for 11.6 percent of the total, followed by Brazil (11.5 percent) and Romania (5.8 percent). -- Twitter has been heavily targeted by cyber-crooks as a platform for launching phishing attacks. Attackers prey on peoples' curiosity by sending them a direct message telling them that there is a post about them or an image of them on a blog. When users click on the link, they are redirected to a spoof Twitter page. If users enter their Twitter credentials on this page, their data will fall into the hands of cyber-crooks who then use the accounts to send spam.

"The reason for such frenetic activity is that the lifespan of the infections is very short, as the authorities, the ISPs and even users themselves, rapidly detect that their systems are being used maliciously," says Corrons.

For more information about quarterly malware trends please see the PandaLabs quarterly reports and bulletins page:

For more information about the Quarterly Spam Report from Panda Security and Commtouch please visit:

About PandaLabs

Since 1990, its mission has been to detect and eliminate new threats as rapidly as possible to offer our clients maximum security. To do so, PandaLabs has an innovative automated system that analyzes and classifies thousands of new samples a day and returns automatic verdicts (malware or goodware). This system is the basis of collective intelligence, Panda Security's new security model which can even detect malware that has evaded other security solutions.

Currently, 94% of malware detected by PandaLabs is analyzed through this system of collective intelligence. This is complemented through the work of several teams, each specialized in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing, spam, etc), working 24/7 to provide global coverage. This translates into more secure, simpler and more resource-friendly solutions for clients.

More information is available in the PandaLabs blog: and the Panda Security website:

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