If spam were the economy, all would be golden. “If the economy could rebound as spam has done in second quarter, we would all be much happier with our retirement accounts,” according to the Q2 McAfee Threats Report (PDF), which notes that, after recovering from the high profile shutdown of the McColo botnet last November, spam has increased nearly 80 percent over Q1. Spam and zombies -- hijacked computers -- reached record levels in Q2. Fourteen million new zombies were found by McAffee during this quarter, meaning that more than 150,000 new zombies were created each


“With this type of zombie-creation trend in motion, we can easily predict that spam volumes will rise in the next quarter,” according to the report.

The U.S. retains the dubious distinction of being the world’s spam leader. Of global Q2 spam, 25.5 percent originated in the U.S., followed by Brazil (9.8), Turkey (5.8), India (5.6) and Poland (4.9). While responsible for more than a quarter of the world’s spam, the amount originating in the U.S. actually dropped ten percent from Q4 2008 and Q1 2009 levels.

The report also highlights the growing concern over social-network security, noting a naïve trust in the social web, the key repository of our online data and identity whose viral nature makes it an easy platform through which to spread malevolent code.

“It’s unfortunate that many people feel so at home with the interactive Web 2.0 experience that they forget the basics of online security,” according to the report. “Once attackers gain access to account credentials, they have full access to the victims’ friends and can launch all sorts of mischief.”

“This phenomenon gives new meaning to the term ‘friendly fire,’” according to the report.

By Mark Alvarez