Spam sloughs back from Decembers peak

Spam levels have dropped back marginally from their December 2007 high to account for 96.8 per cent of all email scanned during January, according to Web security firm SoftScan

Although some of the reduction is due to bot-infected machines being replaced with new 'clean' computers at Christmas, SoftScan does not believe that the remaining drop is significant, more a lull before the next surge of spam.

"There is nothing to indicate that this reduction in spamming activity is long-term," says Diego d'Ambra, CTO of SoftScan. "Either the spammers are content with the data they have collected so far and don't see the need for sending large waves of spam or they are busy working on new tactics."

Although d'Ambra says he doesn't expect to see a return to December's levels just yet, he is sure it will only be "a matter of months".

January 2008 saw the highest rate of spam to date when over 97.02 per cent of email was classified by SoftScan as spam. December was marked by very high levels of spam during weekdays, which has noticeably dropped during January.

However, with Valentine's day falling on a Thursday this month, SoftScan expect to see a marked increase in spamming and possible virus activity into the run-up of to 14 February.

By comparison, virus levels remained very low in January, accounting for just 0.11 per cent of all email scanned. The top five virus families in January 2008 were:

  1. Phishing: 84.88 per cent
  2. Dropper: 7.02 per cent
  3. Agent: 1.39 per cent
  4. Trojan-small: 1.24 per cent
  5. Netsky: 0.86 per cent

Image: SoftScan CTO Diego d'Ambra believes spammers could be busy working on new tactics

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