Report: Mal-Bredo A Virus Spreads Via Social Media

Spammers taking advantage of the reputations of global brands to prompt opening of email

January 13, 2010

3 Min Read


Sunnyvale, Calif. " January 12, 2009 " Commtouch' (Nasdaq: CTCH) today released its Internet Threats Trend Report for Q4 2009. Spammers continue to be cutting-edge marketers, this time taking advantage of the reputations of global brands, such as UPS, DHL and Facebook, to prompt opening of emails.

During this past quarter, cybercriminals focused on distributing the Mal-Bredo A virus. While the number of variants decreased from 10,000 to 1,000 as compared to last quarter, it was spread with much more virulence.

Commtouch's quarterly trend report is based on the analysis of more than two billion email messages and Internet transactions seen daily within the company's cloud-based global detection centers.

Other highlights from the Q4 Trend Report include:

* An average of 312,000 zombies were newly activated daily for the purpose of malicious activity.

* Spam levels averaged 77% of all email traffic throughout the quarter, peaking at 98% in November and bottoming out at 68% at the end of December.

* Sites in the "Computers & Technology" and "Search Engines & Portals" categories topped the list of Web categories manipulated by phishing schemes.

* "Business" continued to be the Web site category most infected with malware for the third quarter in a row.

* Pharmacy spam remained in the top spot with 81% of all spam messages; last quarter, it led with 68%. Replicas remained in the #2 spot, falling from 19% to 5.4%.

* Brazil continues to produce the most zombies, responsible for 20.4% of global zombie activity.

Blended threats, including fake Swine Flu alerts and Halloween tricks, continued to circulate, while spammers introduced a few new ploys including MP3 spam and personal enhancement spam targeting women.

"As we review the Internet threats for this quarter, we can really see the creativity the cybercriminals use to ensure their messages are opened," said Asaf Greiner, Commtouch vice president, products. "Whether we like it or not, their activities really demonstrate when society-wide activities " such as social media participation " reach critical mass. Essentially, if a spammer is using a specific brand to entice consumers to open their mail, it means that brand has achieved a strong, positive reputation."

Commtouch Recurrent Pattern Detection and GlobalView technologies identify and block messaging and Web security threats, including increasingly malicious malware and phishing outbreaks. More details, including samples and statistics, are available in the Commtouch Q4 2009 Internet Threats Trend Report, available from Commtouch Labs at

NOTE: Reported global spam levels are based on Internet email traffic as measured from unfiltered data streams, not including internal corporate traffic. Therefore global spam levels will differ from the quantities reaching end user inboxes, due to several possible layers of filtering at the ISP level.

About Commtouch

Commtouch' (NASDAQ: CTCH) provides proven messaging and Web security technology to more than 100 security companies and service providers for integration into their solutions. Commtouch's patented Recurrent Pattern Detection (RPD) and GlobalView technologies are founded on a unique cloud-based approach, and work together in a comprehensive feedback loop to protect effectively in all languages and formats. Commtouch technology automatically analyzes billions of Internet transactions in real-time in its global data centers to identify new threats as they are initiated, protecting email infrastructures and enabling safe, compliant browsing. The company's expertise in building efficient, massive-scale security services has resulted in mitigating Internet threats for thousands of organizations and hundreds of millions of users in 190 countries. Commtouch was founded in 1991, is headquartered in Netanya, Israel, and has a subsidiary in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Stay abreast of the latest messaging and Web threat trends all quarter long at the Commtouch Caf: For more information about enhancing security offerings with Commtouch technology, see or write [email protected].

Recurrent Pattern Detection, RPD, Zero-Hour and GlobalView are trademarks, and

Commtouch is a registered trademark, of Commtouch Software Ltd. U.S. Patent No. 6,330,590 is owned by Commtouch.

Commtouch Contact:

Amy Kenigsberg

US: 913-440-4072 (+7 ET)

Int'l: +972-9-794-1681 (+2 GMT)

[email protected]

Keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats, newly discovered vulnerabilities, data breach information, and emerging trends. Delivered daily or weekly right to your email inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights