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Virus outbreaks continue to fall in 2005

London UK, (30th December 2005) – SoftScan reports that although spam has increased by 13% in 2005, levels have remained fairly constant and SoftScan expects that the average amount of spam in 2006 will remain at today’s level of 85% of all email traffic. This is despite a landmark victory in the UK for one individual that has successfully claimed damages from a marketing company sending spam.

“Though it’s laudable to take a stand against a direct marketing company that isn’t following legislation, I can’t see it having any real effect on the amount spam that plagues email,” comments Phil Watts, managing director of SoftScan UK. “The main culprits are criminally orientated spammers and tracking them down and achieving a successful prosecution is much harder. The only sure way to deal with spam is to educate users not to respond. Only once spammers stop making a very lucrative income from it, the vast majority of this type of spam will go away.”

Conversely, the amount of viruses within email has dropped in 2005 by more than half that of 2004 to an average of 1.2%. This confirms the trend of less major virus outbreaks and more targeted attacks in low numbers that enable criminals to process illegally gotten financial information at a sustainable level.

“Phishing will still remain the most visible threat in 2006,” predicts Bo Engelbrechtsen, corporate communications manger of SoftScan. “However, the real risk to organisations’ data will come from viruses that have the distinct strategy of trying to stay under the radar of anti-virus vendors for as long as possible. Early detection of these types of viruses relies heavily on intelligent heuristic scanning that adapts and learns from every message it sees.”

Viruses accounted for just .94% of email scanned by SoftScan in December 2005. The Top five virus groups are as follows:

sober: 33.61%
phishing: 25.75%
netsky: 17.98%
mytob: 10.94%
bagle: 4.38%

Amongst the spam statistics this year, SoftScan notes that the percentage of spam within email over the weekend is always in the low nineties. During the festive season this rose to nearly 95% on the 25th December 2005. Although a large part of the increase is due to a reduction in the level of legitimate emails sent, it does raise questions as to how companies without spam protection manage during periods of prolonged absence.

“I imagine businesses would be quite horrified if they knew how many legitimate emails are accidentally deleted, when users are trying to remove junk mail from their inboxes,” continues Bo Engelbrechtsen. “For some companies Monday mornings can be quite a task for users who have to wade through their inboxes, but at this time of year it can be even harder to spot an email you need amongst all the spam after you’ve been off for a few days.”


About SoftScan
Established in 2002, SoftScan provides a hosted spam and virus email filtering service that relieves organisations from the burden of using internal resources, whilst enabling full configurability to comply with company policy. Now Scandinavia’s leading supplier in the hosted antivirus and spam filter market, SoftScan scans more than 10 million emails every day using five different filters including SoftScan’s own intelligent scanner, Paranoid, which uses advanced analysis of email behaviour to block unwanted emails – enabling it to stop viruses before conventional scanners have adjusted to the new threat.

Media Contact:
Sara Claridge
Marylebone Media Relations
+44 870 766 8482 (direct)
+44 7968 626838 (mobile)

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