[Commtouch have apparently released an ‘Email Threats Trend Report’ for the third quarter of 2007], which contains this factoid:
Blended threat messages — or spam messages with links to malicious URLs — accounted for up to 8% of all global email traffic during the peaks of various attacks during the quarter […]
Spam with malware hyperlinks inside: One technique which reached a new high during the quarter was innocent-appearing spam messages that contained hyperlinks to malware-sites. This type of spam utilizes vast zombie botnets to launch ‘drive-by downloads’ and evade detection by most anti-virus engines. Several blended spam attacks of this type focused on leisure-time activities, such as sports and video games. Messages invited consumers to download “fun” software such as NFL game-tracking and video games from what appeared to be legitimate websites. Instead, consumers voluntarily downloaded malware onto their computers.
Those short messages that invited downloads of NFL game-tracking software (“Get Your Free NFL Game Tracker”, “Football Fan Essentials”, “Are you ready for football season?” etc.), and video games (“Wow, free games!”, “New game software, with over 1000 games—FREE”, “Holy cow, 1000 free games online” etc.), is all output from the Storm worm — I wouldn’t call it a new kind of “blended threat” per se. I’m surprised that Commtouch didn’t name it; maybe they don’t realise it’s Storm?
I’d say it’s output is higher than 8% of my incoming spam, although it has reduced its spam output quite a bit recently.