Existing botnets are being used to send Halloween-related spam emails.
According to the Symantec MessageLabs intelligence report for October, there has been an increase in seasonally-themed spam including Halloween. It also detected that by mid-October, it began seeing Halloween themed spam messages accounting for 0.5 per cent of all spam.
This has been increasing steadily and peaking at 500 million emails circulating worldwide daily.
While the topic of the Halloween-themed emails, originating from the Rustock and Donbot botnets, appears to be for pharmaceuticals or software, the Christmas and Thanksgiving spam, sent by the Cutwail botnet, is for replica watches.
The report claimed that replica watch spam messages accounted for approximately two per cent of spam in October. Two billion of these messages are projected to be in global circulation on a daily basis in the coming months.
Paul Wood, senior analyst at MessageLabs Intelligence, said: “As is typical with spammers this time of year, we are seeing them try to capitalise on the holiday season. Although they may be a bit overzealous, spamming is a numbers game and the spammers have certainly succeeded with volume thus far.
“Perhaps their early-bird approach is an attempt to compete with the other botnets and get in early to maximise their chances of success.”