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Automotive Industry Hit Hardest By Spam: Panda

Study encompasses three months of analysis of email traffic from 867 companies across 11 different sectors, in 22 countries
Panda Security, the Cloud Security Company, today revealed the results of its three-month long study from July to September 2009 on the prevalence of spam across a range of industries. Investigating 11 sectors, including automotive, insurance, banking, tourism, construction, food and others, Panda analyzed the email traffic generated by 867 companies in 22 countries throughout the U.S. and Europe and found that the automotive industry is the top recipient of spam and email-borne malware. In total, more than 503 million messages were analyzed. A breakdown of how each industry is affected can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/4026424134/sizes/o/.

The overall aim of the study was to compare the prevalence of spam and malware across different business sectors. Following automotive, the electronics sector and government institutions rounded out the top three recipients of spam and email-borne malware with ratios of 99.89, 99.78 and 99.60 percent, respectively. This ratio represents the percentage of spam or malicious messages in relation to all email received. Consequently, this means that just 0.11 percent of mail received by businesses in the motor industry is legitimate (similarly 0.22 percent in the electronics sector, and 0.40 percent in government institutions).

Interestingly, the banking sector, predicted by many to be a prime target, featured near the bottom of the ranking with a ratio of 92.48 percent. The education and tourism sectors close the ranking with figures of 87.98 and 87.22 percent.

There was, however, no considerable difference in the subject fields of the spam received across the various sectors. The majority, more than 68 percent, were related to pharmaceutical products. This was followed by advertisements for replica products with 18 percent, and messages with sexually explicit content at 11 percent.

Banker Trojans were responsible for approximately 70 percent of all malware detections. These were followed by adware/spyware at 22 percent, with the remainder accounted for by viruses, worms, etc.

According to Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs, "We were curious to see if spam and email-borne malware affected all companies equally, or whether there were factors that influenced the likelihood of them being targeted. We were surprised to find significant differences - up to 12 percent " in the ratio of junk mail received between different business sectors."

To help businesses be better suited and prepared for the threat of malware and prevalent spam, Panda Security has launched an education and training campaign called, 'Time For Your Business' (http://timeforyourbusiness.pandasecurity.com). This site helps businesses identify their current security issues and asks questions so they can customize solutions that are best suited to their needs.

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