Spam and phishing on the rise

For some people, Spam is tough to swallow, and it would be more so if it contained 19% fish.

Well, for just about everyone, e-mail spam is very difficult to swallow. Not only is there more of it clogging up network arteries and inboxes, but 19% of it is phishing lures, according to Ipswitch's latest Spamometer Survey, released Thursday.

Spamming and phishing are both on the rise, according to the report. Currently, spam accounts for more than 70% of all messages received, up from 62% last quarter and 57% the quarter prior.

Driving that influx of unsolicited messages is the surge in phishing attempts, which hadn’t even registered in Ipswitch's previous Spamometer Survey.

“While it is disappointing to see the percentage of e-mails that are spam continually on the rise, it is the recent epidemic of phishing e-mails that are of most concern,” said Chris Greaves, Ipswitch sales director for Northern Europe.

The reigning kings of spam are messages hawking medication, which accounts for 36.6% of all spam.

"Even though some of this [spam] growth may well be created to try and maximize responses from a shrinking audience, the fact that such a basic spam as medication sites is No. 1 is quite frightening," said Clive Longbottom, head of research for industry analyst firm Quocirca.

Next on the list are the finance and phishing e-mails, followed by pornographic e-mails, which represent 14% of all spam. Down 24%, porn was previously in the top slot. Perhaps that's what drove up the demand for certain types of medication?

Messages pushing electronics and pirated software remain in fourth place, representing 10% of all spam. Finally, those ever-helpful and oh-so-personalized mortgage offers, previously the No. 2 spam offender, take up 9% of the spam space.

Ipswitch, based in Lexington, Mass., provides messaging solutions such as IMail Secure and Ipswitch Collaboration Suite, which integrate with spam-fighting technology from Mail Filter.