Business as Usual for Spammers After Holiday Season Hiatus

22 Feb 2011
Spam News

Kaspersky Lab announces the publication of its spam report for January 2011. There was virtually no change in the average amount of spam detected in mail traffic compared with December. A low of 60.7% was recorded on 5 January with a peak of 87.7% on 23 January. It is safe to say that after a short break following the festive period it was business as usual for the spammers. The fact that the lull continued for the duration of the New Year holidays and Russian Orthodox Christmas suggests that criminal organizations from the former Soviet republics play a significant role in the global spam business.

In November and December the USA disappeared altogether from the Top 20 most common sources of spam only to re-enter at 14th place in January. This obviously reflects attempts by cybercriminals to rebuild their networks after numerous spammer botnets and partner programs were shut down by the authorities and antivirus firms at the end of 2010. However, the USA is still attractive for botmasters because it is highly computerized. “Unfortunately, spammers have been quite successful at restoring their botnets and if no new incidents affect the world of spam in the near future, the volume of unsolicited messages in mail traffic could reach summer 2010 levels by spring,” comments Maria Namestnikova, Senior Spam Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

India, Russia and Italy maintained their leading positions among the most popular sources of spam with their contribution to the world’s spam traffic remaining almost unchanged from December. The amount of spam emanating from India stood at 9%. Russia came second having distributed 8.2% of spam with 5% originating in Italy. Phishing emails accounted for 0.03% of all mail traffic, a decrease of 0.11 percentage points compared to the previous month.

According to January’s statistics, pharmaceutical spam came first in the rating of the most popular spam categories. It has reclaimed its former leadership status after its dramatic decline following the robust anti-spam campaign of last year. The spammers clearly do not want to give up such a profitable side of their business. In second place was the Personal Finance category dominated by sites offering cheap loans and help finding work via recruitment agencies. The Fake Designer Goods category, which topped the rating in December, dropped to third place in January.

The full version of the spam report for January 2011 is available at www.securelist.com