You may not have noticed, but the percentage of Spam in your inbox is probably growing. Spam currently makes up 90.4 percent of all e-mail, a 5 percent increase from last month, according to a new study from Symantec's MessageLabs. That's actually a more modest uptick than the last MessageLabs report, which found 10 percent growth from March to April.
What's accounting for the increase? Last month, Symantec pointed to a flood of image spam. The current report says that many of the new wave of messages contain links to social networking profiles created using tools that can pass Captcha tests. The e-mails are coming from legitimate webmail hosting providers, according to the study.
"In 2008, Captcha-breaking, social networking spam and the use of webmail for spamming all became popular tactics," said Paul Wood, a senior analyst with MessageLabs Intelligence. "Today, the bad guys are using the three together as a triple threat to heighten the effectiveness of their spamming."
But image spam is still going strong. Apparently, ransom-letter-like messages constructed out of Russian characters are a particularly prevalent way for spammers to keep their messages out of junk folders.
Other findings: About 0.36 percent of e-mails represent a phishing attack; the percentage of email-borne malware with links to malicious sites fell to 7 percent from 13.3 percent last month; and 34.2 percent of all intercepted Web-based malware was new to Symantec.