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Google: Spam Levels Back to Pre-McColo Levels

Spam levels have finally bounced back to levels seen prior to the shutdown of notorious Web hosting provider McColo in November of last year, at least from the vantage point of Postini, Google's e-mail security provider.

Postini said its measure of the seven-day average spam volume didn't return to pre-McColo measurements until March 23.

"What we have seen in Q1 is a slow but steady return to before-McColo" spam levels, said Adam Swidler, Postini's product marketing manager.

Still, just as some anti-spam hardware and software vendors saw anywhere from a 50 percent to 75 percent drop in spam after McColo was shuttered, depending on their view, I should note that some e-mail security providers cited a resumption of pre-McColo spam levels as early as December.

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As far as spam trends in first quarter 2009, the spammers appear to be dusting off tried-and-true infection and distribution methods, Postini reports. Virus-laden e-mail attachments fell out of style for a while, but in February the number of viruses sent as e-mail attachments increased nine-fold compared to the same time in 2008.

According to Postini, spammers also have been finding success with location-based services that customize e-mails so that they appear to be about local news events that are geographically close to the recipient.

In addition, a great deal of recent spam this past quarter has continued to play on recipient's fears about the economy, with initial come-ons offering help with job searches, resume writing and continuing education opportunities, Swidler said.

More details on the report are available at the Official Google Enterprise blog.

By Brian Krebs  |  April 1, 2009; 4:17 PM ET
Categories:  Fraud , Safety Tips  
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Next: FBI: Internet Fraud Rates Rose 33% Last Year

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