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BizReport : Email Marketing : April 01, 2011

Report: Spam levels down but for how long?

Thanks to the shut-down of the Rustock botnet earlier this year, more consumers may be seeing more legitimate email messages. According to a new MessageLabs report, the global spam rate has decreased to just over 79%, a 2% decrease. Although Rustock is down, a new threat has been identified.

by Kristina Knight

Called Bagle, experts say a net botnet has taken over where Rustock once ruled. The Bagle botnet is sending about 8.31 billion spam messages daily, mostly within the pharma industry; although they have fewer computers within their system than Rustock had, the botnet is reportedly 'more consistent' than Rustock. This may cause problems for legitimate marketers.

"It remains to be seen whether the criminals behind Rustock will be able to recover from this coordinated effort against what has become one of the most technically sophisticated botnets in recent years," said MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst,, Paul Wood. "Botnets have been and remain a destructive resource for cyber criminals and through the years have become the spammers' air-supply, without which it would be very difficult for them to operate. Botnets are also used for other purposes such as launching distributed denial of service attacks, hosting illegal web site content on infected computers (known as bots), harvesting personal data from them and installing spyware to track the activities of their users."

Other interesting findings from the MessageLabs report include:

• 81% of spam messages (global) are sent through botnets
• Prior to shut-down, Rustock sent more than 13 billion spam messages daily
• Rustock accounted for about 28% of March spam messages
• In March, 1 in 208 emails contained a virus
• 63% of email-borned malware attacks contained links to malicious sites
• 1 in 252 emails were considered to be phishing attacks

Tags: email marketing, email messages, MessageLabs, SPAM, spam research, Symantec

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  • While spam is always going to be a problem while there is money to be made out of it, I find that both Hotmail and Gmail both catch over 90% of the spam mail that I get.



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