Spam Volumes Drop as Botnets Go Quiet
Posted in: Spam at 06/01/2011 17:21
The infamous Rustock botnet, responsible for almost half of all spam sent last year through its command-and-control system exploiting over a million compromised PCs, has suddenly slowed to a crawl, Symantec said today, noting the unexplained event has led to a substantial drop in spam.
One of the oldest and most successful spam-producing botnets, Rustock typically would send about 44.1 billion spams per day but that volume suddenly dropped on Dec. 25 to about 500 million per day, according to Symantec. There's no clear explanation for the decrease, which may be temporary, says Paul Wood, senior analyst with Symantec hosted services. But he notes that the Web site for the Rustock spam-promoting affiliate organization called SPAMIT, was shut down last October. To add to the mystery, other spam-producing botnets are suddenly going silent, including one called Lethic on Dec. 28 and Xarvester on Dec. 31.
Global spam e-mail levels suddenly fall
The amount of junk e-mail being sent across the globe has seen a dramatic fall in recent months.
The volume of spam has dropped steadily since August, but the Christmas period saw a precipitous decline.
One security firm detected around 200 billion spam messages being sent each day in August, but just 50 billion in December.
While the reasons for the decline are not fully understood, spam watchers warn the lull may not last.
Around the Christmas holidays, three of the largest spam producers curtailed their activity, Paul Wood, a senior analyst at Symantec Hosted Solutions told BBC News.
"But it's hard to say why," he added.