RSS feed Get our RSS feed

News by Topic

BizReport : Email Marketing : January 13, 2011

Report: Spammers are off their holidays

Over the 2010 Christmas holidays many of us were off work and celebrating with family. This isn't surprising. What is surprising is that it seems spammers took a holiday in 2010 as well. Now that we are nearing the mid-point of January, though, the holidays are over - for consumers and spammers alike.

by Kristina Knight

Watch out world, spammers are back in business. MessageLabs researchers found that during the 2010 holiday season, spam levels dropped to pre-2008 levels. In fact, they noted that on December 25, 2010 the Rustock botnet had nearly shut down, dropped to an output of only about 0.5% of worldwide spam. As of January 10, 2011 those lessened spam levels are history.

The target? Pharmaceuticals. Although not all spam is pharma related, a large number of spam messages are now in that category.

This is the second time spam levels have seen a decrease of this nature. The first time, in 2008, the drop was attributed to the closure of the McColo ISP. During 2008 spam levels dropped by up to 80% according to MessageLabs. The difference this time is that there is nothing to attribute the decrease in spam levels to.

"The botnet and its infrastructure appeared to be intact," said Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst. "It's more likely that the controllers were gearing-up for a switch to a new spam client, as its main business is pharmaceutical spam, which until recently accounted for as much as 64% of all spam. Most of this was from the Canadian Pharmacy operation, but that dried-up altogether following the closure of a spam affiliate called in October. Rustock has now been seen sending pharmacy spam for another group, 'Pharmacy Express.' Time will tell whether this client is as lucrative for them as their previous one. It's worth noting that Rustock also makes money from click-fraud, as well as spam."

Since the January 10 date, MessageLabs has seen an increase in spam messages of 98%; the comparison is to January 9, 2011 spam levels.

Tags: email marketing, email messages, MessageLabs, spam messages

Subscribe to BizReport

  • Of course, these spammers also have their lives. Hahaha. I received hundreds of emails a day in Yahoo mail. I just click "Check All" and hit "delete" and that's it.

  • Jennifer Starr

    Spammers have the right to make a living-- as long as it's DOING SOMETHING ELSE.



Copyright © 1999- BizReport. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of BizReport content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
BizReport shall not be liable for any errors in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.