NEW YORK -- MessageLabs, a leading provider of integrated messaging and web security services to businesses worldwide, today announced the findings of its MessageLabs Intelligence Report for May 2007. In this report, the data shows an increase in sudden spam surges, or spam spikes. Virus and phishing rates increased this month and while spam rates decreased overall, MessageLabs identified new image spam techniques using image hosting sites.
Spam spikes occur when individual domains are targeted in a particularly aggressive spam attack. In one spam spike that lasted only 11 hours, more than 10,000 spam messages were attempted, accounting for more than 75 percent of the total messages received by the domain during the entire period. This type of attack is a threat to enterprises and can be detrimental to small-and medium-sized businesses resulting in an overload of email servers, which can defeat appliance-based anti-spam systems that rely heavily on signatures created over a long period of time to counteract the attacks. A spam spike is designed to increase the amount of spam that gets through a network while a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack disrupts connectivity. However, a spam spike can have an effect similar to that of a DDoS attack.
This month the bad guys continued with their aggressive attacks by developing new tactics to fly under the radar and cause the most damage, said Mark Sunner, Chief Security Analyst, MessageLabs. With the increase in spam spikes and new techniques with image spam, it is crucial for businesses to take a multi-layered security approach among email, Web and IM to protect their employees and their systems completely from these malicious attacks.