ATLANTA -- Marshals Threat Research and Content Engineering (TRACE) team reported a world-wide surge in stock and health spam during the first quarter of 2007 increasing total spam volume by 35 percent. indicating the possibility of a new spamming trend.
According to the TRACE team, stock spam accounted for approximately 15 percent of all spam for most of last year. However, during the last quarter, volumes of stock spam increased dramatically, peaking at nearly 50 percent and continue to linger at 30 percent.
There is no clear pattern to the sudden increase of stock spam indicating that either the technique is very financially rewarding, or that the spammers have to go to ever increasing lengths to get a return on their pump and dump campaigns, said Bradley Anstis, director of research and product development for Marshal, Inc. Either way, the phenomenon is now a problem of epidemic proportions.
The TRACE team reported that the pump and dump spam is more persistent and noticeable than ever. The messages do not share a similar format, but instead use all of the techniques in the spammers arsenal, including various types of image spam including random part images and generalized body text, simplistic text messages, different formatting of messages and garbage text.
The TRACE team also noted the United States increased its lead as the top spamming country, with Europe holding its place as the most spam-producing continent.
More than 20 percent of spam comes from the United States while China comes in second with 11 percent, said Anstis. While the United States produces the most spam by country, North America accounts for only 23 percent of all spam. Europe is producing nearly 40 percent of spam.