Spam accounts for 86 per cent of all emails

Toxic spam makes up 4.5 per cent of all spam

Worldwide spam has surged by nine times and now makes up 86 percent of all emails, says Symantec.

According to the security firm's October State of Spam report, 'toxic' spam or spam that contains malware accounts for 4.5 percent of all spam.

Symantec also said that spammers were concentrating their efforts of exploiting the 'holiday' period. As well as targeting web users with Halloween and Christmas related spam, spammers have expanded their remit to include the Indian festival of light Diwali and the Chinese Moon Festival, both of which are celebrated in October.

The most common subject lines in spam messages are 'Delivery Status Notification (Failure)', 'Return mail' and 'Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender'.

Symantec also said Phishing attacks were down five percent on last month and non-English phishing sites has decreased by 33 percent on last month.

Amanda Grady, Principal Analyst, Symantec said, "The nine fold rise in spam containing malware emphasises how dangerously mature the spamming business has become".

"The traditional view of spam being a method of selling fake Viagra is gradually giving way to a more sophisticated approach, which uses malware to harvest unwary users' computers time and time again for personal details or hook them into botnets."

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Carrie-Ann Skinner

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