Spam is at a 12-year low!

Or 10-year low, depending on who you talk to. The BBC states it’s 12 years. Either way it’s still a promising sign, although that still means it’s 49.7%, however that’s the first time since 2003 it’s been at levels under 50%.

It appears all email-based attacks including phishing emails, 419 scams (also known as Nigerian prince scams), fake products scams, and others have all fallen.

The reason for this is a concerted effort by private companies and governments to bring down botnets, which are networks of compromised machines – known as bots – that are used to send spam emails. We’ll learn all about all of this in our final class.

Curiously enough, Microsoft of all companies has been a leader in bringing down these networks. Whether working with U.S. Marshals to bring down the Zeus malware botnet, or the spam behemoth Rustock, or working with Symantec to shut down the Bamital botnet, which would corrupt users’ search results and direct them to malicious websites. Other times it just works on its own.

One thing to keep in mind about the reduction in spam overall, is that criminals aren’t going away, they are merely shifting their attentions elsewhere, mainly to malware; that’s software that does something bad. Keyloggers, drive-by downloads, Flash embeds, spam isn’t doing it for them anymore so they are developing new methods of attack. None of this means you can be less vigilant, if anything you should be moreso, be sure your anti-virus software is up to date, and be careful what you click on or agree to.

Going Up