Attackers use Apple brand as spamming rises

Email was plagued with increased levels of spam in June, although the amount of malicious attachments in email was down, according to research from security software company Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky said the percentage of spam in email traffic in June was up 1.4 per cent on the previous month, averaging 71.1 per cent a day. Malicious attachments however were found in only 1.8 per cent of all emails, a drop of 1 per cent compared to the previous month.

Kaspersky said spammers last month actively used the name of Apple founder Steve Jobs in large amounts of spam. Headers in unsolicited email invited recipients to "get to know the secret of his success", but the body of messages contained an advert for training sessions on "how to make a profitable business out of a hobby in just 1.5 hours".

Other significant spam messages offered big discounts on Apple devices. The authors of these emails stressed there was a "limited quantity of goods" and that it was "essential to snap them up right away" via web links.

Spammers also focused on offers of admission to US universities, as well as offers of online education at the user’s convenience. These emails often included links to pages with application forms for the course. Spammers could use the forms to collect personal user data.

“In June, spammers continued to use familiar tricks. In particular, we recorded several mass mailings advertising both conventional and electronic cigarettes, where the organisers used the Google Translate service to process spam links," said Tatyana Shcherbakova, senior spam analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky said almost a quarter (24 per cent) of the world's spam came from China, and that the US accounted for 17 per cent. South Korea sent 14 per cent of all spam, although it remained the leading source of spam sent to European users (53.3 per cent) - its share grew by 9.6 per cent.

Italy, Taiwan, Vietnam and the US were the other main senders of spam to European users.

In June the number of attacks targeting instant messaging accounts, including Skype, increased said Kaspersky, as more users use IM in the summer holidays.