"Q3'10 spam and virus trends confirm that spammers are still hard at work distributing malicious content in new and creative ways. August saw a massive 241% increase in virus volume over July, representing the greatest recorded surge in viral activity since 2008. Overall, payload virus volume increased 42% over Q2'10 and 10% over Q3'09, while spam levels decreased 16% and 24% over same periods, respectively.
The spike in malware attacks during August suggests that we might see higher levels of spam moving forward into Q4 as botnet "seeds" planted during this time begin to take action," stated Google.
- Shortened URLs can mask suspicious links. This quarter detected an increased volume of emails containing shortened URLs linking to suspicious websites.
- Beware false financial transaction messages. We continue to see false notifications claiming to be sent by various financial authorities.
- Fake celebrity gossip. The messages referenced a zip file that in turn contained a virus. These messages, similar to various classic phishing scams involving "friends" in need, attempt to pique a user's interest with an alarming subject line and content.