Industry and Government Efforts Cause Sustained Drop in Spam Levels

SUNNYVALE, Calif., April 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Industry and government efforts have dealt a significant blow to spam, Commtouch® (Nasdaq: CTCH) reported today in its April 2012 Internet Threats Trend Report. The report is compiled based on a comprehensive analysis of more than 10 billion transactions handled by Commtouch’s GlobalView™ Cloud on a daily basis.

This time last year, spam levels were around the 150 billion mark daily, just before the takedown of the Rustock botnet.  Spam levels dropped immediately after that takedown and have continued to decrease ever since. In the first quarter of 2012, an average of 94 billion spam emails were sent per day.

“The sustained decrease in spam over the last year can be attributed to many factors, including: botnet takedowns, increased prosecution of spammers and the source industries such as fake pharmaceuticals and replicas,” said Amir Lev, Commtouch’s chief technology officer. “However, spam is still four times the level of legitimate email and cybercriminals are increasing their revenues from other avenues, such as banking fraud malware.”

Specific social engineering campaigns of note this quarter focused on the U.S. tax season, targeting both consumers and members of the accounting profession. Facebook remains a popular outlet, with a social engineering campaign featuring “an unwatchable video.”

Commtouch’s GlobalView Cloud has unique threat intelligence collection and analysis capabilities that form the basis for the data in the report, as well as Commtouch’s email security, Web filtering and antivirus solutions. This threat intelligence is supplemented with information from numerous Commtouch Security Alliance partners.

Additional data from the trend report:

  • Pornographic websites were the category most likely to contain malware
  • Pharmaceuticals and replicas were the most popular spam topics in Q1
  • India keeps its title as the country with the most zombies – 19.2 % of all zombies worldwide
  • 270,000 zombies were activated daily for malicious purposes

NOTE: Reported global spam levels are based on Internet email traffic as measured from unfiltered data streams, not including internal corporate traffic. Therefore global spam levels will differ from the quantities reaching end user inboxes, due to several possible layers of filtering.

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