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Global spam e-mail levels suddenly fall

 4:20 pm on Jan 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

The amount of junk e-mail being sent across the globe has seen a dramatic fall in recent months.

The volume of spam has dropped steadily since August, but the Christmas period saw a precipitous decline.

One security firm detected around 200 billion spam messages being sent each day in August, but just 50 billion in December.

My personal experience is that spam has been falling for years

[edited by: engine at 4:22 pm (utc) on Jan 6, 2011]
[edit reason] added quote [/edit]



 4:25 pm on Jan 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

My personal spam has only dropped since I started using an email address which has never been published on the net.

My last email address went south with about 300,000 spams in it.. the one before that about the same.


 4:39 pm on Jan 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've seen very litle e-mail spam, in general, having pretty reasonable captures in place. Not much gets through to my inbox, so it's hard for me to say whether it has tailed off.

I have never understood those that buy from e-mail spam. Surely, their inbox must be overloaded as they eagerly wait the next spam e-mail batch. No, it makes no sense.
Perhaps folks have finally realised not to buy from spam e-mails and have therefore destroyed the market.

I have noticed the e-mail harvesters have become more sophisticated and seem to be finding unpublished e-mail addresses from places that they should not have been able to scrape from. I have no hard evidence for certain that one place in particular has been scraped, however, it does make me wonder where they got an unpublished e-mail address.


 4:50 pm on Jan 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

it does make me wonder where they got an unpublished e-mail address

It's often times harvested from mail client files of someone's compromised computer that had you as a contact. Or, as an unsuspecting good-intentioned friend recently did for me, send me an eCard from a third-party source, then the spam started rolling.


 5:14 pm on Jan 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

often times harvested from mail client files of someone's compromised computer

Agreed, but, these are unpublished e-mail addresses. There are only three places they exist. My desktop, a search engine account, and the ISP. I am as certain as I can be that my mail client is all clear, so they must have been scraped from one of the other two sources.


 9:51 am on Jan 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I give every merchant/site I deal with a unique email address. Of the tiny percentage of spam that gets through to my inbox, most of it last year came to addresses showing that sites, merchants, or their email list service providers had been compromised.


 12:55 pm on Jan 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Anyhow, if spam is on the decrease that is cause for celebration.

Spam only continues when there are mugs out there (out here) who fall for their games.

Perhaps people are starting to wise up to the idea that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is!

One can hope!


 1:52 pm on Jan 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

but, these are unpublished e-mail addresses.

When I was foolish enough to have a catch all mailbox I observed that once the domain is known many addresses are generated randomly. If you have a simple forename@domain structure then once a bot has the domain then bots will start sending randomname@domain messages.


 2:53 pm on Jan 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I bet spam is falling because so much of it never makes it to the recipient and the spammers are not making as much money as they used to.

Seems like the glory days for spammers has past.


 3:23 pm on Jan 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

How do they define spam?

Years ago it was considered "normal" for legitimate businesses to send their customers emails no more often than once a month. Nowadays some of our competitors email every few days.

Sex related spam has virtually stopped for some reason. What happened to that blizzard of Male "enhancement" email?

But Gevalia Coffee (once owned by Kraft) is back in the spam business, but quite scaled down from their peak about a decade ago.


 5:54 pm on Jan 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

How do they define spam?

Defining e-mail spam is relatively straightforward: unsolicited bulk email.

So it's not just about pills, or adult-related topics, but phishing, lottery and 419s are included in this. Huge volumes are sent via botnets to help avoid detection.

UCE (unsolicited commercial email) can be borderline spam if little care and attention is taken to target the audience, imho. Especially if they were from harvested e-mails. Many don't even ask for an opt-in or provide an unsubscribe option. Some of the largest companies in the world are guilty of inadequate opt-out systems. If that's the case, I simply blacklist all e-mail from their servers for a set time period until they either give up, or update their system. 180days is my standard setting.

I doubt we'll ever get rid of spam entirely as many of the amateurs will continue with their efforts.

It's phishing, imho, which is the greatest threat, especially as there are still millions of people gullible enough to think they've won the lottery they never entered, or those that fall for the banking hack, etc.


 6:54 pm on Jan 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just about everything "Nigerian" has fallen. Not only email but attempts to buy from our site. I've long suspected that the typical 419 scams weren't that successful. If they were then why did they all originate from that one country (yeah, I know politics has something to do with it).

Even lottery scams, which were red hot a year or two ago, seem to have fallen way off.

Isn't it amazing how the web has become SAFER every year, even amid a terrible economic climate. Data from the credit card companies backs up that assertion.


 11:40 pm on Jan 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

At least three large botnets have stopped sending spam. The theory is that they may be re-tooling. The nets still exist - they are simply inactive right now. A fourth botnet has been shut down. Source: [bbc.co.uk...] (same source cited by O.P.)

I have never understood those that buy from e-mail spam.

The human mind is a strange thing. I once witnessed a fellow fall for a lottery scam, all but certain that his investment would pay off big. No amount of persuasion would deter him. Finally, one day the check did arrive, and the bank took it away from him. I suspect he is still replying to any number of scams.


 2:44 am on Jan 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I once witnessed a fellow fall for a lottery scam, all but certain that his investment would pay off big.

Scambaiter activists attest that it's not easy saving the most gullible. In one case the victim (at the urging of the Nigerian scammer) became convinced the good Samaritan wanted the $50 million transfer for himself.

Recently there was a report of a investigational medical drug that had the side effect of increasing gullibility and risk taking. There's probably a genetic or chemical basis.

It's not simply ignorance. I've seen some people fall for the same scams over and over.


 12:01 pm on Jan 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

No need for a chemical or genetic basis for gullibility. Simple greed has managed to cloud even otherwise bright minds for as long as humans existed.

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