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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Spam Trends Down?

Bucking some reports to the contrary, which find spam levels incrementally increasing over time, MessageLabs’ latest research paper claims that unsolicited e-mail dropped noticeably during Q3 2008, driven in part by the shutdown of a nefarious ISP.  Despite the fact that the MessageLabs Intelligence Report for September/third quarter 2008 aligns the lowered volumes of spam observed during the timeframe directly to the shuttering of shady California-based ISP Intercage on Sept. 20, researchers predicted that the noticeable slowdown would likely be temporary as the holiday season gets into swing and scammers again seek to use those themes to lure end users.

“Addresses on Intercage’s network range were being used to host command and control channels for botnets,” Mark Sunner, chief security analyst at the messaging security specialist said in a report summary.

Overall, the company’s research group found that the global ratio of spam traffic from previously unknown sources reached 70.1 percent (1 in 1.43 e-mails) of all e-mail in September, a decrease of 8.1 percent compared to the previous month.

In the world of message-based malware threats, MessageLabs reported that over 45 percent of the infection-laden e-mails it filtered represented newly-created attacks.  One in 288.1 (0.35 percent) of all e-mails intercepted by the researchers harbored some form of phishing attack during the month.  However, compared to other threats including Trojans and botnets, the sheer number of phishing e-mails decreased by 29 percent to 45.7 percent of all message-based attacks tracked in September.  Phishing levels for Q3 2008 were at their lowest level since Q2 2006 and have continued to diminish since the beginning of this year, based on the company’s numbers.

Posted on 10/08