Press Release

Spam in Q1 2014: New Trends Emerge and the United States Is Once Again the Top Target

Woburn, MA – May 6, 2014 – Kaspersky Lab today released its quarterly spam report for the first quarter of 2014, which showed a new trend in spammers imitating messages from mobile applications, such ask WhatsApp, Viber and Google Hangouts. The report also highlights how the United States moved back to the top spot for countries targeted by spam. Although the overall amount of spam in the first quarter did not increase, the quarter showed an emergence of new spam trends.

The percentage of spam in total email traffic during the first quarter of this year was 66.34 percent, a decrease of 6.42 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013. However, compared to Q1 of 2013, the share of spam in Q1 of 2014 remained largely unchanged, falling by only 0.16 percent. Instead of increasing, spam in the first quarter exemplified how cybercriminals are now beginning to spread fake notifications from mobile applications. Notifications allegedly sent from cross-platform mobile applications like WhatsApp were used to spread both malware and harmless advertisements.

Spam Sources and Targets

The top three spam sources remained unchanged from the previous quarter, with China (-0.34 percent), the U.S. (+1.23 percent) and South Korea (-0.91 percent).

However, the list of countries most frequently targeted by malicious emails changed since last quarter. The amount of spam that targeted the United States was 14 percent, a 3.68 percent increase while the United Kingdom (9.9 percent) and Germany (9.6 percent) decreased by 2.27 and 1.34 percentage points respectively. As a result, the U.S., which was third in the previous quarter, returned to the top of the rating in Q1 2014.

Malicious attachments in email

The main goal of most malicious programs distributed via email is to steal confidential data. However, in Q1 malware capable of spreading spam and launching DDoS attacks was also popular. Most popular malicious programs are now multifunctional: they can steal data from a victim’s computer, make the computer part of a botnet, or download and install other malicious programs without the user’s knowledge.

Quote
Darya Gudkova
, Head of Content Analysis & Research Department
Kaspersky Lab
“Recently we have seen a growth in the number of attacks targeting mobile users. Gadgets have become popular even among those who had little interaction with computers and are less familiar with computer security. This opens up new vectors of attacks for spammers and phishers. To protect themselves, users should remember not to open emails from unknown senders and especially not to click any links in these emails, which inevitably pose a risk to user security. Clicking unsafe links threatens user security regardless of which device is used – they pose a danger to desktop computers and mobile gadgets alike.”

The full report is available at securelist.com

About Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab is the world’s largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection solutions. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users*. Throughout its more than 16-year history Kaspersky Lab has remained an innovator in IT security and provides effective digital security solutions for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab, with its holding company registered in the United Kingdom, currently operates in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 300 million users worldwide. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.

* The company was rated fourth in the IDC rating Worldwide Endpoint Security Revenue by Vendor, 2011. The rating was published in the IDC report "Worldwide Endpoint Security 2012–2016 Forecast and 2011 Vendor Shares (IDC #235930, July 2012). The report ranked software vendors according to earnings from sales of endpoint security solutions in 2011.

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Media Contact
Sarah Bergeron
781.503.2615
sarah.bergeron@kaspersky.com