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Two Weeks Out, Spam Volumes Still Way Down

A full two weeks after a Web hosting firm identified by the computer security community as a major host of organizations engaged in spam activity was taken offline, the volume of spam sent globally each day has yet to bounce back.


The block graph over at e-mail security firm IronPort suggests that the company blocked around 35 billion spam messages on Monday. Prior to hosting provider McColo's shutdown, IronPort was flagging somewhere around 160 billion junk e-mails per day.

A quick glance at the volume flagged by shows that they're still detecting well below half of the spam volumes they were just two weeks ago.

I'm not suggesting this is a permanent situation: I happen to agree with most experts who have said they expect spam volumes to at some point bounce back or even exceed previous levels. Still, it is nice to see this drop in junk e-mail largely persist for so long.


To the many readers who have written in to say "Bah humbug! I haven't seen any drop in $@!#* spam!" I would like to refer you to the excellent point made by Cloudmark's Adam O'Donnell, who in our follow-up story last week explained what he thinks is going on there:

Not everyone has seen fewer spam messages in their inboxes after McColo's shutdown. Adam O'Donnell, director of emerging technologies at Cloudmark, an e-mail security company in San Francisco, said those who did not see a drop in spam from the McColo shutdown likely subscribe to an Internet service provider that already does an effective job blocking 99 percent of junk e-mail.

"People who had really good systems in place probably didn't benefit from this, while those who had more marginal spam filter protection likely saw a significant drop off in spam," O'Donnell said.

By Brian Krebs  |  November 25, 2008; 9:22 AM ET
Categories:  Cyber Justice , Fraud , From the Bunker , Web Fraud 2.0  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Pharmacy Extortionists Take on CIA, DoD, FBI, NSA
Next: Spam Volumes Expected to Rise with Botnet Resurrection


A good follow-up status report, Brian. Keep us posted on this from time to time. I would like to be the fly on the wall listening to these spam-bot scum-bags begging and then be turned down by IP after IP refusing to do business with them. Maybe they will just dry up, die, and find real work somewhere.

Posted by: peterpallesen | November 25, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I must be getting my spam from some place else. My totally unscientific observation (based upon observing the number of messages in my GMail Spam folder) is that the amount of spam has never been higher. My current count is over 4200 spam messages compared to 3000 around six months ago.

Anyway, I find that given the superb performance of GMail's spam filter, I tend not to give spam a second thought.

Posted by: MikeWyman | November 25, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I just love the fact that we now know that it is quite possible to significantly impact spam levels at the source instead of the destination. Shutting them down will always be preferable to filtering, since filtering still puts the onus (and traffic load) on ISPs and companies. However, I wasn't sure that I would ever see it in my lifetime without improving e-mail authentication, which would be a cumbersome and confusing change for many in the beginning.

Posted by: MaxH | November 25, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

When g-mail first came out, it was suppose to be the anti-spam king of sites.

And now ?????

Posted by: | November 25, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I normally get 1-2 spams a week. Today so far I have had more than a dozen and I had at least half a dozen yesterday. Somebody's getting pretty active out there.

Posted by: elyrest | November 25, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I was getting anywhere from 200 to 400 spams a day. Well, a lot of them were filtered into a "spam folder," but I checked them anyway, and occasionally found a message from a friend that had been blocked. Then suddenly I was getting only a dozen or so spams a day. Just like the old days in 1994 when I first got onto the Internet. Be nice if the spammers can be shut down over the long term.

Posted by: jc51 | November 29, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

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