Symantec July Spam Report Shows Rising Trend in Shortened URLs
The use of shortened URLs has seen massive increases since their inception. With the continued popularity of social networks, shortened URLs use will keep rising. This trend apparently has seeped into the world of spam as well. According toSymantec’s latest report, there was a huge spike in shortened URL usage during the end of June and going into July.
So just how bad has shortened URL usage become this past month? Compared to this time last year, shortened URLs have nearly doubled in usage. During the period of June-July 2009, 9.3% of spam used shortened URLs in some fashion. During this time in 2010, it reached 18%. These two figures represent heavy spikes in spam, and don’t necessarily represent the average. When not showing spikes in usage, the average use of shortened URLs has increased. Symantec’s graph shows non-peaking use higher than the previous year as well.
All of the data taken in by Symantec shows that shortened URLs are becoming a mainstay tactic, and not one used every so often. Taking in all the data, you might be asking what the major concern is when dealing with shortened URLs. It has been shown that URL shorteners can help sneak past certain anti-spam measures.
Symantec provided a list of shortened URLs which saw the most activity during their testing period:
Botnets were tracked, and Symantec discovered which ones were most responsible for using URL shorteners. The top known botnet was Storm, which utilized shortened URLs in nearly 12% percent of their spam. The majority of the botnets using shortened URLs were unknown.
Spammers are beginning to use shorteners more frequently, because they alleviate the problem of having to use long URL addresses that give away locations to potential victims. Another startling statistic provided by the report is the most frequently visited shortened URL spam link had 63,513 website visits. Showing that this tactic is something which needs to be met head on, because it isn’t going away.
About the Author: John is a staff writer for webpronews