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MP3 Spam Attack rocks the web

MXSweep reports on massive outbreak of MP3 spam by stock market pump-and-dump fraudsters.

This brand new type of email borne spam has been flooding users since last week and in a very short time accounted for around 7 - 10% of all spam sent.

These worthless stocks are being promoted as MP3 based voice messages with deceptively sounding names like Santana.mp3, bspears.mp3 or coolringtone.mp3.

The messages themselves are much larger than "traditional" spam, even larger than image spam and PDF spam.

On average, the size of the message range from 85 KB up to 147KB. For the most part message contents are empty with subject headers containing just "Fwd:" or "Re:", or the name of the file attachment.

File names have been categorized as emotional for example: dadsong.mp3, oursong.mp3, weddingsong.mp3, well-known artists and songs, for example: santana.mp3, sayyousayme.mp3, smashingpumpkins.mp3, or other "sounds" that people might want to listen to, for example: answeringmachine.mp3, coolringtone.mp3, listentothis.mp3

This represents yet another evolutionary step in email spam.

For years we had grown accustomed to text based spam, a format still in widespread use today, then came a global outbreak of emails carrying image spam based on GIF or JPEG formatted graphic payloads, with spammers then switching to PDF & Excel attachment spam, and now for the first time we are seeing more spam campaigns based on MP3 based spam.

Each evolutionary advance poses a tougher challenge to the anti-spam industry as traditional filters struggle to keep up.

According to Danny Jenkins, MXSweep CTO and founder, "Spammers are using new techniques everyday to penetrate spam filters, and as their methods become more and more advanced traditional keyword and baysion filters are becoming less effective in the global fight against spam.

The vast majority of businesses are already blocking audio files or will have no issues implementing corporate policies to block audio files from arriving by email into the user's inbox. Although these emails now account for 8% of current traffic they consume up to 55% of email bandwidth use, which in business terms is a huge additional cost. "

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.