The new malware

The Storm Worm has since continued unabated, most recently in the form of Web-based attacks. E-mails, socially engineered to look like electronic greeting cards and linked to a Web site containing malware, completely avoided traditional e-mail antivirus gateways. The Storm Worm’s course change to the Web reflects a growing trend of malware Web-based attacks launched through e-mail.

The simple logic behind these e-mail-based blended threats is astoundingly effective: no attachment means no antivirus block. And when combined with a user-friendly invitation, it creates the opportunity for a high infection rate.

Blended threats easily lead people to Web sites where malware gets downloaded–often without user interaction or knowledge. The industry is just now realizing the severity of the problem,

Researchers at Google recently published a paper concluding that approximately 10 percent of reviewed URLs contained “drive-by downloads” of malware binaries (PDF) and many more that were flagged as suspicious.