Reports Show the Prevalence of Spam Dropping

A Kaspersky Lab research report for November 2010 showed
the amount of email based spam fell 0.06 percent to 76.8 percent from October.
The study also showed there was a .47 percent decrease in the prevalence of
phishing emails across all mail traffic and a .13 percent decrease in the frequency
of malicious files found in email.

A Kaspersky Lab research report for November 2010 showed
the amount of email based spam fell 0.06 percent to 76.8 percent from October.
The study also showed there was a .47 percent decrease in the prevalence of
phishing emails across all mail traffic and a .13 percent decrease in the frequency
of malicious files found in email.

The decrease in spam may seem small, but this is because October
and September saw such dramatic decreases in spam resulting from the shutdown
of the Pushdo/Cutail and Bredolab botnets, the SpamIt partner program announcing
its closure, and the arrest of SpamIt leader Igor Gusev. However, these figures
are deceiving. The occurrence of spam in the days immediately following the
Bredolab shutdown were so low they had a profound impact on the October’s spam
statistics. When Kaspersky Labs researchers reexamined the statistics excluding
those days, they found the occurrence of spam was actually 1.1 percent lower in
November than it was in October.

The closure of Pushdo/Cutwail in September resulted in the
percentage of worldwide spam generated in the U.S. to fall from 15.5 percent to
6 percent. It was further reduced from 6 percent to 1.6 percent in October and
from 1.6 to 1.3 percent in November. Because of this, the U.S., which was once
the world’s number one spam producer, is no longer among the top 20 nations in
spam production.

In the months leading up to November, the U.S. led the world
in the amount of malware detected in their email traffic, but this changed as
Russia, Vietnam, and India all over took the States. Presumably, the growth of malicious
spam in the above countries can be attributed to cybercriminals exploiting
regions with weak defenses, attempting to create new and bigger botnets. In
general, the occurrence of malware in email decreased in developed nations.

The drop in the prevalence of phishing emails can be
attributed to 21.7 percent decrease of such attacks on PayPal, who are targeted
by the lion’s share of phishing email attacks. Facebook, on the other hand, saw
their phishing attacks double. Despite this, Facebook remains in a distant
second, receiving less than half the amount of phishing email attacks of
PayPal.

A spam trend report for the fourth Quarter of 2010 was recently
undertaken by Commtouch and the results aren’t due out until the first or
second week in January. We reached out to their media relations contact, Amy
Kenigsberg, and she sent us the following preview report:

In
October we reported an 18% drop in
global spam levels (comparing September and October). This was largely
attributed to the closure of Spamit around the end of September. Spamit is the
organization allegedly behind a fair percentage of the worlds pharmacy spam.
According to reports in October, the reasons for the sudden “voluntary” closure
were related to charges brought against the individuals behind Spamit.

 

“Analysis
of the spam trends to date reveals a further drop in the amounts of spam sent
during Q4 2010. December’s daily average was around 30% less than September’s.
The average spam level for the quarter was 83% down from 88% in Q3 2010. The
beginning of December saw a low of nearly 74%.

 

“The
nature of the spam attacks has also clearly changed. The pre-October graph
shows large fluctuations in the amounts of spam sent. In Q4 2010 there were
generally lower fluctuations – aside from two large outbreaks in mid-October
and mid-December. The large amounts of pre-Christmas spam are something of a
tradition, but here too the outbreak was smaller than most of the large
outbreaks this year.

 

“As
before, we remain cautious about the long-term implications. Spam levels have
decreased in the past only to return to even higher levels within short
periods.  Don’t pack away your Anti-Spam just yet.

 

“We
have also included a more detailed view of the Ham graph. As always, weekends
are clearly visible as is the Christmas decline. Ever wondered about worker
productivity? Tuesday seems to be the day we get the most work done (or at
least send the most emails). Although Saturday seems quieter than Sunday we
should point out that our GlobalView Network analysis is based on collection of
worldwide traffic. The info is dated according to US West Coast time and Sunday
data will therefore include some early Monday stats based on observed Asian
traffic.”

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