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back to article Phishing up, malware down, says Google

Google has revealed a new analysis of five years’ worth of data gathered by its Safe Browsing service. The analysis, as any discussion of online security seems obliged to, includes lots of Scary Big NumbersTM, such as the 9500 malware-infected sites the Chocolate Factory says it finds every day or the 12-14 million warnings it …

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Bronze badge
Holmes

But obviously the spammers business models are still working...

Actually, I still monitor my spam on two accounts, and identity theft spam has become the clear leader these days, but most of it is pretty naive. The author was right that the current trend involves more social engineering and fewer technical exploits, but I think that is because today's spam is increasingly coming from low-class low-competence criminals. The high-competence criminals are mostly working for the banks these days. You just can't beat the combination of "too big to fail" and "private profits with public losses". The dregs of the scum are just fantasizing about writing the perfect 419 sob story that suddenly gets a hit rate of 1% of suckers providing sufficient information for identity theft...

These days most of the spambait seems to be originating on throwaway accounts. For example, pocomail was a very popular source until recently, but it was pretty clear that they just created a pocomail account and used it to send as much spam as possible with no expectation of the account surviving the day. The actual hooks of such spam are pointing at email accounts on other systems, mostly Gmail and Yahoo.com.hk, along with some of the minor players like globomail. The spammers only concern is to throw out as much bait as possible, and then they sit back to wait for nibbles on the other systems that are most reliable for delivering suckers to their fate.

I think it is noteworthy that Microsoft (AKA Hotmail and live.com) is clearly NOT favored these days by the spammers (except for fake headers From: lines, where Microsoft apparently has some extra delivery cred). Can't prove it, but I'd wager it is because Microsoft has become fastest at identifying and nuking those accounts before the scammer can reach the suckers. All of which shows that it is possible to fight the spammers more effectively, but Yahoo is too feeble, and either Gmail doesn't care or is too evil. I really hate to give kudos to Microsoft, but they have been leading the upstream war against the spammers, and now it looks like they are leading downstream, too.

Pie in the sky, but what I want is a REAL spam fighting tool that would let me join in making the miserable spammers' lives even more miserable. Something like SpamCop, but on steroids. If you are familiar with SpamCop, you know that it is one round of analysis looking for the spammers' ISP and webhost, followed by confirmation before sending complaints. What I want would involve several rounds of increasingly refined analysis and targeting, going after ALL of the spammers' infrastructure, pursuing ALL of the spammers' accomplices, and even trying to help or protect ALL of the spammers' victims.

Perhaps a few examples would help. One of the targets of such an integrated spam-fighting system could be the unsubscribe mechanisms to identify the legitimate ones from the address harvesters. At a minimum, that would involve some testing with honeypot addresses. Such a powerful spam-fighting system could collect statistics to notify the owners of valuable brands that their reputations are being excessively abused and even give them an opportunity for legitimate counter-marketing to prove they are on our side against the spammers. The human being in the loop could categorize the spam and help prioritize the serious spam for the rudest responses. Of course there should also be "Other" options to trap the spammers latest wiggles. I really want the tools to be a first-class spam fighter.

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Anonymous Coward

But

It does not look like Google are taking the rise in Android malware into account!

Looks like that statistic has been left out.

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Silver badge
Happy

@AC 06:56 But

Have you actually seen the alleged android malware? Or are you just an apple troll? Just saying, because I have been using android since 1.6 and have never had any malware. Either I am careful or it's BS

Just in case you are a fanboi have a read of http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/06/19/apple_hacked_downunder/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But obviously the spammers business models are still working...

" today's spam is increasingly coming from low-class low-competence criminals."... like the ones I get?

HI WERE YOUR WEBMAIL PROVIDER AT THE COMPUTER CENTER. YOUR ACCOUNT IS FULL. PLEASE CLICK HERE ENTER YOUR WEBMAIL USER NAME AND PASSWORD SO WE CAN GIVE YOU MORE SPACE.

I am not screaming -- the messages are like that, and they include a link to a Google Docs form. Due to the contents of the message I wonder if Google Translate is also used :-)

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Thumb Down

Re: But obviously the spammers business models are still working...

Yeah, I've been seeing a LOT of phishing attacks using Google Docs. Wonder when they're going to plug that hole?

Dave

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