Hijacked Webmail and Facebook Accounts Lead to Scams and Plague Users, According to Commtouch Survey

Sunnyvale, CA  (Profitable.com)  Commtouch ® (Nasdaq: CTCH) has published the industry’s first ever research report on The State of Hacked Accounts, presenting statistics on the theft, abuse and eventual recovery of Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and Facebook accounts.

The data reveals that most users get hacked at high rates even when they do not think they are engaging in risky behavior, with 62% unaware of how their accounts had been compromised.

The results presented in the report rely on a comprehensive end-user survey together with data from Commtouch’s GlobalView™ Network, which tracks and analyzes billions of Internet transactions daily.

Other highlights from the research include:

  • Less than one-third of users noticed their accounts had been compromised, with over 50% relying on friends to point out their stolen accounts.
  • 15% of users thought their credentials were stolen after they used a public Internet terminal or WiFi network.
  • One in eight hijacked accounts were used for a phony distress email scam that asks friends to wire funds to a foreign country, and over half of the accounts were used to send spam.

“Commtouch’s poll reveals that more than two-thirds of all compromised accounts are used to send spam and scams,” said Amir Lev, Commtouch’s chief technology officer. “This is not surprising, as cybercriminals can improve their email delivery rates by sending from trusted domains such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail, and enhance their open and click-through rates by sending from familiar senders.”

The report also provides tips for preventing accounts from being compromised.

The full report on stolen accounts, as well as a brief presentation and infographic, are available at:http://www.commtouch.com/state-of-hacked-accounts.

The State of Hacked Accounts Report is a companion to Commtouch’s quarterly Internet Threats Trend Report, which covers Web threats, phishing, malware, and spam.  The October trend report describes the explosion of email-borne malware in the third quarter of 2011 to the highest levels observed in over two years.  The ultimate purpose of the huge volumes of malware has remained unclear as spam levels continue to decrease.

Additional data from the trend report:

  • Over 230 billion emails with attached malware were sent in the outbreaks of August and September.  The malware included variants of Sasfis, SpyEye, Zeus, fake antivirus, and others.
  • Phony Facebook notifications lured users to malware, while large scale  scams accumulated hundreds of thousands of Facebook Likes
  • Spam levels dropped to an average of 93 billion spam/phishing messages per day during Q3.
  • The most popular spam topic in Q3 was pharmacy ads, increasing to 29% of all spam from 24% in Q2.
  • India keeps its title as the country with the most zombies – 18% of all zombies worldwide.

More details, including samples and statistics, and a brief presentation summarizing the trend report are available at: http://www.commtouch.com/threat-report-Oct-2011.

About Commtouch

Commtouch® (NASDAQ: CTCH) safeguards the world’s leading security companies and service providers with cloud-based Internet security services. A cloud-security pioneer, Commtouch’s real-time threat intelligence from its GlobalView™ Network powers Web security, messaging security and antivirus solutions, protecting thousands of organizations and hundreds of millions of users worldwide.

Stay abreast of the latest news at the Commtouch Cafe:
http://blog.commtouch.com. For more information about enhancing security offerings with Commtouch technology, see http://www.commtouch.com or write to info@commtouch.com.

Recurrent Pattern Detection, RPD, Zero-Hour and GlobalView are trademarks, and Commtouch, Authentium, Command Antivirus and Command Anti-malware are registered trademarks, of Commtouch. U.S. Patent No. 6,330,590 is owned by Commtouch.

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