The February 2011 “Email Security Report” was recently released by German email security firm eleven. The report highlights a temporary decline in spam toward the end of 2010 accompanied by the rise of virus outbreaks and botnet infrastructures. In the history of spamming, since 2003, there has never been such an extreme fluctuation in spam volumes as witnessed in December 2010 and January 2011.
On December 25th, 2010, spam volumes were reported to decrease by 80 percent, remaining at that level until January 10th, 2011. On this date, spam volume significantly rose six-fold reaching the levels prior to December 25th. Simultaneously, the quantity of virus outbreaks rapidly increased indicating some type of collaboration.
The company states in the report these two events (spam and virus outbreaks) are related and the decrease is likely to be planned by the spamming community. Spammers took the time between these two dates to rebuild botnet infrastructures while replacing lost capacities. This defends these individuals from external factors. In turn, this task was accomplished by sending massive quantities of new virus, trying to infect as many computers and servers as possible.
Prior to the Christmas holiday, spamit.com was terminated while many botnets were eradicated. This is said to be a contributing factor to the major dip in spam. Other trends were reported including:
- The US is the leading source with 11 percent of the world’s spam
- Brazil produces 8 percent
- India and Russia share 7 percent
- Germany outputs 4 percent
In addition to the drastic increase of spamming and virus outbreaks following this break in nefarious activity, the report also stated that malware levels increased by 21.5 percent in the month of January. Therefore, these three malicious activities are unlikely to be coincidental. It is more logical that this was a planned event intended to rebuild and then release a significant amount of malevolent activity on the world.
This report is a vital aspect of the internet community. These statistics prove that there are many individuals or groups collaborating to wreak havoc on internet users. It seems with the shutdown of major components that are the source of spamming, viruses and malware, the attacks increase greatly as a result. It is unlikely spam, viruses and malware will ever completely be eradicated as there is always an expert out there looking to cause problems across the globe.