Spam volume declined in last quarter of 2010

Much to many people’s delight (have you noticed it?) the amount of spam has declined quite a bit in the last months of 2010. According to Cisco’s Ironport Senderbase website spam volume fell no less than 209 billion messages from 301 billion to 92 billion in December 2010, a drop of 31% over 6 months. Looking historically at a period of 18 months, back in July 2009 spam volume was 229 billion, which accounted for 88,1 percent of total email volume. Last december that percentage of total email volume dropped to 85,1.

Next to Cisco, the people over at Symantec also noticed the drop: they not only have the stats but also provide some possible answers to the big difference in volume:

According to MessageLabs, there was a huge reduction in output from the Rustock botnet, which was by far the most dominant spam botnet in 2010.  Since December 25, the Rustock botnet has basically disappeared as the amount of spam from it has fallen below 0.5% of worldwide spam. In addition to the decline in the Rustock botnet activity, MessageLabs also pointed out that two other major botnets disappeared off of the spam map. The Lethic botnet has been quiet since December 28, and the Xarvester botnet went silent on December 31.

So apparently the shutting down of some botnets can be blamed for this, in a positive way. Let’s hope this trend will continue and more botnets will be shut down: this will help get rid of one of the biggest annoyances in modern life that is spam.
More resources:
Word to the wise blog: more spam graphs
eWeek: Botnet holiday spam levels drops for Christmas

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