98% of all e-mail is spam

Posted on Sunday, Dec 09 2007 @ 15:15 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
A report by IronPort Systems on Internet security claims 98% of all e-mail traffic is now spam. The firm says 120 billion spam e-mails are sent every day and that an average UK computer user spends 5-10 minutes a day dealing with spam.
Spam volume increased 100 percent, to more than 120 billion spam messages daily. That’s about 20 spam messages per day for every person on the planet. IronPort measurements have shown that enterprise users get anywhere from 100 to 1,000 spam messages per day.

Spam has become less focused on selling product, more focused on growing spam networks. Earlier versions of spam attacks were primarily selling some type of product (pharmaceuticals, low interest mortgages, etc. However, today’s spam includes an increasing amount of links that point to web sites distributing malware. This malware is often designed to further extend the size and scale of the bot network that originated the spam in the first place. During 2007, IronPort’s Threat Operations Centre measured a 253% increase in “dirty spam” that contained links that pointed to known malware sites. This is further evidence of the trend that malware writers are using both email and web technologies blended together to propagate threats.

Viruses are less visible, but increasing in number. Virus writers have evolved from the previous mass distribution attacks such as netsky and bagel viruses. In 2007 viruses where much more polymorphic, and typically associated with the proliferation of very sophisticated bot networks such as "feebs" and "storm". In one week alone, the IronPort Threat Operation Centre detected more than 6 variants of the Feebs virus, each of which began spreading exponentially before signatures could be created.
IronPort estimates spam is now a $200 billion business.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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