Security firm Commtouch has released its Internet Threats Trend Report for the first quarter of 2013. The company reveals that, in the first three months of this year, a whopping 97.4 billion spam emails and 973 million malware emails were sent out each day.
Spam levels increased by 98% and phishing by 74% compared to December 2012. Virus outbreaks and emails carrying malware recorded an even more impressive growth – by 290% and 157%, respectively.
According to the report, the old penny stock spam, which almost completely died out, made a comeback in Q1.
As far as exploit kits go, BlackHole has once again taken center stage, being utilized in numerous cybercriminal operations.
For instance, even the massive campaigns that leveraged news about the pope and the financial crisis in Cyprus lured victims to BlackHole sites.
When it comes to spam sources, the US tops the chart, followed by Belarus, Spain, Argentina, and India.
“The dramatic rise in the quantity of unwanted and dangerous emails during the first quarter of 2013 shows that email communication is still one of the key attack vectors,” said Avi Turiel, director of threat research and market analysis at Commtouch.
"Email is still the most popular communication tool for private users and businesses alike, making it an attractive target for cybercriminals,” Turiel added.
“The rise in both emails with malware attachments and drive-by-attacks also indicates that malware distributors don't shift their focus from one attack vector to another. To the contrary, they diversify their attack methods in order to increase the efficiency of their campaigns and in order to bypass some anti-spam and antivirus measures.”