Postini announced that the amount of email spam continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, setting a record level in December of nearly 94 percent of all electronic mail on the Internet. Postini blocked more than 25 billion spam messages in December, representing a 144 percent increase from December 2005 to December 2006.
"This continued rise in spam levels is threatening the viability of email for businesses that are not properly protected, and is sapping the productivity of hundreds of millions of workers around the world," said Daniel Druker, executive vice president of marketing at Postini. "Just fifteen minutes per day dealing with the increased volume of spam can cost companies $3,200 per employee per year, which adds up to tens of billions of dollars of lost productivity around the world."
Much of the increased volume of spam in 2007 is coming from bot-nets, which are networks of hijacked personal computers that spammers use to deluge the Internet with ever increasing volumes of spam and viruses. Bot-nets allow spammers to send a virtually unlimited amount of spam at no cost by coordinating millions of compromised personal computers and network connections to send the unwanted messages.
Postini expects to see a continued increase in spam levels in 2007, as globalization leads to more personal computers attached to high-speed internet connections around the world, which may be utilized by bot-nets in 2007.
In December, hackers continued to demonstrate creativity and innovation in unleashing a widespread social-engineering based email virus known as the Happy New Year worm. This single massive attack drove the daily volume of email-borne viruses on the Internet upward by a factor of twenty on New Year's weekend.
The Happy New Year worm, also known as Nuwar and Mixor, used social engineering techniques designed to exploit people's expectations of legitimate New Year's postcards and greetings from friends and family. The goal of the Happy New Year worm was to steal personal information and to hijack the recipient's computer to add it to bot-nets to spread even more spam and viruses.
Postini's PREEMPTzero-hour virus protection detected and began blocking the Happy New Year virus immediately for the 36,000 businesses that rely on Postini to keep their business communications secure, compliant and productive.
The top five viruses for December 2006 were:
Virus Name / Quantity Block
nuwar / 19,409,015
netsky / 6,497,291
stration.gen / 4,142,926
downloader-arl / 2,690,374
mytob / 2,196,045