Globes, June 1, 2004
Commtouch: Yahoo.com most employed Spam spoof domain in May

Nearly 58% of all Spam originates in the US; 78% of the web sites referenced originate in China

Commtouch's Internet Spam detection center has announced findings for May that Yahoo.com was the most employed spoof domain by spammers in their e-mail address. Yahoo.com appeared in 6.46% of Spam messages.

E-mail spoofing is the forgery of an e-mail address so that the message appears to have originated from someone or somewhere other than the actual source.

In May, Yahoo.com was the most used domain by spammers as their spoof domain, with Hotmail.com (4.81%) and MSN.com (4.30%) second and third respectively. As for international domains, t-online.de (Germany) led with 0.17% of the global spam followed by wanadoo.fr (France), and videotron.ca (Canada).

"There's a perfect reason why Yahoo.com is the most used domain by spammers," said Commtouch executive vice president Avner Amram. "Many mail servers reject incoming e-mail attempts at the start of the receiving session (SMTP), if the receiver of the e-mail message is not recognized on the system. The mail server which Yahoo.com uses doesn't support this feature in the beginning of the receiving session, but rather at the end of it."

Most spam that arrives in e-mail boxes contains a URL to a web site within the e-mail. Commtouch detected in the month of May that more than 78% of the web sites referenced within spam originates in China, a 7% increase from the previous month. The United States was second with a bit less than 10.1% of the global websites, a steep drop from the previous month when the United States hosted 22% of the spammer websites.

In the month of May, Commtouch detected that spam was sent from 160 countries. The United States continues to lead as the main country originator of spam, sending nearly 58% of all spam. Asia is the second continent after North America to originate over 20% of spam. South Korea, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan led the Asian continent. South Korea took second place behind the United States as main country originator of spam, sending about 9% of all spam. Germany, Mexico and Netherlands are following the Top 10 list with each responsible for sending about 0.8% of global spam.

Commtouch also reported today that its detection center detected that the amount of spam has surged the last three months, with each month marking a record-breaking amount of spam messages and spam outbreaks over the Internet. In May, 69% of global e-mails were spam messages.

Amram noted that there is evidence that compliance with the US Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM) is increasing every month, with 9.5% of the spam messages having complied with CAN-SPAM regulations in May.

"Ironically, CAN-SPAM might be a reason for the increase in the volume of spam in recent months," said Amram. "CAN-SPAM requires that a sender of spam comply with a few simple rules in order to send a spam message. Therefore, if a spammer complies, its message is considered as spam by end users, but is legitimate by law. This might encourage more people to join the spam business, which proves to be very profitable and with very low barriers to entry."

Amram contends that the increase in volume of spam together with the fact that more spam complies with CAN-SPAM indicates e-mail recipients are not using the 'opt-out link', which appears in a message that complies with CAN-SPAM. "A reason for the possible low usage of the opt-out link is that until CAN-SPAM, e-mail recipients perceived the opt-out link as a tool to actually hurt them -- being one way spammers verify that their e-mail address is active," said Amram.

Founded in 1991, Commtouch is headquartered in Netanya, with a subsidiary, Commtouch Inc., based in Mountain View, California

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