Listen up and look out for spaMP3

In the latest twist in the battle against spam, another anti-spam specialist, this time, PineApp, reports the new threat in audio MP3 spam - or spaMP3.

The first mass 'pump and dump' stock market spam promoting a company called Exit Only hit the internet this month with MP3 audio attachments encouraging unsuspecting investors to buy shares.

Just like image based spam, the latest audio versions are far more troublesome to an email server than text based messages due to the larger file size.

While typically recorded at a low bit rate for around 30 seconds, at 85Kbytes on average compared to 12Kbytes for text based emails, spaMP3 will quickly clog up email servers.

Because spaMP3 is based on attachments and is random in nature, like existing image based spam that uses Word, pdf or Excel files, it avoids detection by conventional anti-spam engines.

However, technologies which identify patterns in mass emails such as PineApp's Recurrent Pattern Detection (RPD), are content-agnostic and able to block threats from any multimedia spam threats.

RPD works in tandem with the Zombie Detection System (ZDS) to protect against all forms of spam attacks, text-based, image-based or multimedia, in any format and language.

The ZDS intercepts emails at the network perimeter and makes a judgement based on the history and reputation of email senders. T

his dynamically identifies and blocks all types of spam and malware that is being sent from 'zombie' computers or 'bots' that have been infected by Trojan viruses.

"Spammers have picked up on the trend to send and receive short audio files that could be ringtones or comedy clips, for example," says Steve Cornish, UK sales and marketing director at PineApp.

"We expect to see an increase in volume as well as more malicious versions of spaMP3 emerging over the months running up to Christmas so it is important that organisations take another look at their spam protection and think seriously about implementing a solution that uses RPD technology. But if a message gets through, it is important for users to delete it straight away as opening lets the sender know that the email account is active."