November Sees Fall in Pharmaceutical Spam and US Spammer Activity

21 Dec 2010
Spam News

In November 2010 the amount of spam detected in mail traffic decreased by 0.6 percentage points compared with October’s figure and averaged 76.8%. A low of 71% was recorded on 1 November with a peak of 85.6% on 7 November. The first few days of the month were marked by a fall in spam traffic triggered by the closure of the command centers for the Bredolab botnet which had infected 30 million computers by the end of October.

The amount of spam originating from India increased to 10.4% percentage points, propelling it the top of the rating of most popular spam distributors, followed by Vietnam (8.8%), the UK (6%) and Russia (5.6%). Italy completed the Top 5, with 5.2% of all spam being distributed from there, which was an increase of 1.4 percentage points compared to October.

The anti-botnet campaign in the USA resulted in that country not even featuring in the Top 20 spam distributors for November – the first time it has not figured in the rating since monitoring began. It appears that the spammers distributing pharmaceutical spam from the territory of the USA, Canada and Western Europe have realized that their activity will not continue to go unpunished and have switched to other partner programs. This is evident from the very small share of this type of spam registered throughout November: at the beginning of the month is was hovering around the 40% mark, and by the end of the month it accounted for less than a third of all spam traffic.

“Pharmaceutical spam remains a very profitable business which is why it was so widespread on the Internet until quite recently,” said Maria Namestnikova, Senior Spam Analyst at Kaspersky Lab. “Having lost part of their income from pharmaceutical spam, spammers from the USA and other countries are currently seeking out new opportunities to make money. This appears to be quite difficult because in October, and especially in November, there were fluctuations recorded in the fortunes of the other spam categories.”

The share of phishing attacks on PayPal decreased by 27 percentage points compared with the previous month and averaged 34.2%. Facebook was targeted twice as often in November with attacks on the social networking site rising to 16.9%. The interest shown by phishers in eBay increased threefold (14.8%) compared with October’s figure. The focus of November’s phishing attacks was wider than the previous month: MasterCard and Visa cardholders were targeted more often in November, while attacks on Delta cardholders also resumed.

The full version of the spam report for November 2010 is available at