17 May 2011

Spam decreases only for a short time after Rustock shuts down

Although the fight against cyber criminals appeared to be going in the right direction as the Rustock botnet was neutralized, the amount of spam has not decreased to the levels many expected, according to a recent report by an internet security company.

Soon after the Rustock take down, spam levels fell between 2 to 3 percent, then rebounded soon after. The reason for the decreased spam volume could attributed to the closure of SpamIt, a pharmaceutical partner program, according to Darya Gudkova, the company’s head of content analysis and research.

"It is also possible that the cyber criminals preferred to lie low for a while given the interest in botnets shown by law enforcement agencies towards the end of 2010", said Gudkova.

During the first quarter of 2011, the amount of spam detected through email traffic was slightly less than 80 percent, while the volume of phishing emails accounted for 0.03 percent of all mail traffic, said the company’s report.

According to a study by WebSense, Canada is a country that continues to be targeted by cyber criminal activity. The number of Canadian servers hosting phishing websites increased 319 percent in 2010. Despite the increased volume of attacks against Canada, Egypt remains the most targeted country by cyber criminals.