Tuesday, October 27, 2009

MAAWG's Mission Evolving As Botnets, Web Threats Intensify

Kelly Jackson Higgins writes on Dark Reading:

ISPs and vendors here at the mostly closed-door Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) meeting this week shared data and research on more than just email abuse -- botnets, Web-borne attacks, social neworks, and wireless threats were also among the topics for ISPs and email providers.

Spam and malicious email have been gradually declining as more stealthy and efficient Web-borne attacks have become a popular choice for the bad guys. MAAWG ISPs and vendors yesterday reported slight drops in email abuse, but it's still steady at around 90 percent of all email traffic.

"Email [abuse] will remain substantial," says Michael O'Reirdan, chairman of MAAWG and distinguished engineer in national engineering and technical operations at a major U.S. ISP. Even so, O'Reirdan says he'd like for MAAWG to change its name to more than a messaging title to better reflect the evolving threats to ISPs and their users.

Other MAAWG members, such as Cisco, note that malware distribution via email has become less of a threat in developed countries. "Email as a malware distribution [vector] is somewhat dead except in emerging economies," says Henry Stern, senior security researcher for Cisco's IronPort team. G-20 countries are now sending anywhere from 20 to 40 percent less spam this year than last, he says.

More here.


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