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Spam Levels Lowest Since 2009 104

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-in-my-box dept.
wiredmikey writes "Following a two-week dramatic decline in spam levels, spam now accounts for 78.6 percent of all email traffic, the lowest rate since March 2009, when the global spam rate was 75.7 percent of all email traffic, according to Symantec's January 2011 MessageLabs Intelligence Report, released today. The volume of spam in circulation this month was 65.9% lower than for the same period one year ago, in January 2010, when the spam rate was 83.9% of all email traffic."
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Spam Levels Lowest Since 2009

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  • Frist Sapm! (Score:4, Funny)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @03:02PM (#34997882)
    Frist Sapm
    • by h00manist (800926)
      The mispelling makes it "authentic spam". Selling vi/\gra or marital assistance products however would score higher.
      • The mispelling makes it "authentic spam". Selling vi/\gra or marital assistance products however would score higher.

        Want manshood like a viper? Strike your wife tonite with our pullies!

        • by chimpo13 (471212)

          I wonder how much actual email has stopped to go straight through facebook? That's part of their plan isn't it? That'll slow down once we are all "happily" behind the FB white list. I've got a lot of friends that only use FB for sending email.

          People with accounts with password as a password will fuck it up, but not by much. They can stop taking passwords that are easily guessed. I haven't received any spam on FB or LinkedIn, but I do on orkut, friendster and myspace. I have my FB account to receive mes

          • by Gription (1006467)
            I find that the the basic claim (spin) of "Spam Levels Lowest Since 2009" to be truly funny.

            It should be billed as "Spam Levels Dip To Level Of 2009's Simply Godawful Avalanche!"

            2009 wasn't anyone's low point in spam so why is this celebrated? I just imagine Noah sending out a press release on the 28th day of the deluge saying, "Rain levels have dropped to a low level not seen in 3 days!"

            Besides, even by their own graph we are still above the low level of 2009. How non news do we have to get?
  • by peter303 (12292) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @03:02PM (#34997886)
    I am getting lots of solicitations for "scholarships to for profit colleges".
    And "hundreds of girls on facebook" want to date me.
    • Man, that makes me feel inadequate. They're still trying to sell me Viagra and penis enlargements kits >.

    • by fishexe (168879) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @03:12PM (#34998012) Homepage

      I am getting lots of solicitations for "scholarships to for profit colleges". And "hundreds of girls on facebook" want to date me.

      The IQ-boosting and penis-enhancing drugs worked, I take it?

      • Actually it's easier to take drugs to boost IQ than that other purpose.

        There's some 25 different substances that amp you up. They won't make you *wiser*, but then that wasn't the question.

    • by deains (1726012)
      Today I got about 50 emails about new & exciting opportunities as an assistant manager. Quite how they can use "exciting" and "assistant manager" in the same sentence, I've got no idea.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      I am getting lots of solicitations for "scholarships to for profit colleges".
      And "hundreds of girls on facebook" want to date me.

      And gobs of fake watches and prescription pain killers. The Russian girls who want to chat also seem to still be fairly prevalent nowadays.

  • Learn, folks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @03:03PM (#34997892) Homepage

    This is why you have different email addresses. My gmail address is for personal stuff only...personal communications, confirmations for bills, that sort of thing. My hotmail address is my "general use" address, used for things like forum signups and such.

    • by h00manist (800926)
      funny I have a similar arrangement, gmail for real uses, hotmail for lame uses.
      • by jappleng (1805148)
        In other words, register with websites using your lame hotmail account and communicate with people using gmail. Works for me, except hotmail tends to block a lot of confirmation emails so it has to be two gmail accounts instead of hotmail / gmail :/
      • by treeves (963993)

        +1. It results in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Gmail seems much better at keeping the spam away, but that's probably because the Hotmail account is used for all the lame registrations. Makes gmail seem so much better, which reinforces the decision.

    • No. It's why you run your own MTA with mimedefang/spamassassin, and some sendmail tricks like greet_pause, and bad_rcpt_throttle.

      • Re:Learn, folks (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gparent (1242548) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @04:11PM (#34998768)

        Or I could just use gmail and not get any spam in my inbox, ever.

        • No, with gmail the spam is part of the UI and is targeted based on the contents of your emails...
          • by gparent (1242548)

            No, with gmail, you get no spam at all. The inbox is clean save for an unnoticeable tiny bar [tinypic.com], and messages use unobtrusive right-aligned ads [tinypic.com] that I can't even notice on my widescreen monitor (obviously not the one in the screenshot, although these are not really bothersome either).

            And if, for some weird reason, you still care about those hard to notice ads, you can get adblock and completely remove them.

            But anyway, the important part is that you get nothing bad in your inbox, and you don't have to manage *a

          • by jappleng (1805148)
            ABP is your friend in this case :)
          • by Stompehh (1412967)
            IMAP =)
        • by chimpo13 (471212)

          I still get a few spams in my gmail inbox and I still get actual email going to the spam box. I'm on a ton of mailing lists and I have it set so everything sent to my domain goes to gmail.

          I have my domain registration email set to dead_babies@ which is starred when I get those. Those almost always go to the spam box and they hardly show up but it makes me laugh when I get them.

          Part of the false positives are probably my fault to occasionally responding to the "we should swap links" with "sure, would you li

    • by kellyb9 (954229)
      I only have one gmail address and have reduced my number of spam messages via filtering. I found that a lot of spam content was coming from the same places. A lot of spam gets picked up via gmail's spam filtering.
      • I have two different Gmail accounts, one for spam and one for legitimate use.

        I get a lot of 'newsletter' type garbage in the spam account, but the amount of actual "h3rb4l v14gr4" type spam is about the same in both. Gmail catches all of that and puts it in spam. I never see it in the inbox area.
    • by joost (87285)

      I never use a real email address for forum signups. Mailinator [mailinator.com] is my friend.

    • You even need layers of "internet use" emails. Some categories will send you valid mail, but lots of it. The Indie music sites are noticeable here.

    • by eleuthero (812560)
      another option: I have a different email address (catchall) for each company I do business with. If I start getting spam on one, I know which company lost or sold my email address. I can block them and away I run. So far so good, though. Companies appear to be doing a better job policing their client lists than in the past.
    • by louic (1841824)
      Please give me your gmail address, I want to send you a personal message.
      • by Pojut (1027544)

        no.freaking.way at gmail.com*

        *if this is someone's real gmail address, I'm REALLY, REALLY sorry.

    • by olau (314197)

      How does that help you? You just never check your Hotmail account? Otherwise you now have to fight spam on two accounts.

    • by Tom (822)

      You're using an actual e-mail address for forum signups? How often do you change it?

      I've been using throwaway addresses for everything that I don't a) trust and/or b) intend to stay with for a while.

    • Not worth the trouble of having different accounts. Use something like gishpuppy or spamgourmet, which allow creation of aliases that forward to your normal email. If an alias starts sending you lots of crap, just disable it. Use a different alias for each site, and you stay in control.
  • Because the email spammers found other, more profitable and efficient methods to spread advertising onto the web?
    • by garcia (6573)

      This is exactly the problem. The spammers have been ramping up efforts to spam websites, forums, etc which then pollute search engines and have a higher likelihood of reaching more people who they may not have been able to spam via e-mail (due to filtering, etc).

      While I'm still getting just as much spam to my various e-mail accounts as I ever was before, the volume of referrer and comment spam has gone through the roof.

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        Really? because I have to say.... spam to my accounts has dropped off significantly. A larger percentage of the whole makes it past my spam filtering, which is kind of sad, but I also have an outdated copy of Spamassassin... so it could just be that (time to upgrade...)

        That said, all of the spam, filtered and in the inbox, combined, looks to be maybe 1/4 of what used to just go into the spam filter folder.

        Maybe it is just that my addresses have fallen off lists as I do filter, and tend to delete spam withou

      • The spammers have been ramping up efforts to spam websites, forums, etc

        I see the exact same thing. Right now the new user validation queue for the W3Schools forum has about 360 users in it. It looks like it averages around 100-150 or so per day. A good 90% or so are spammers recorded on stopforumspam.com. A few of the rest are undetected spammers, and the remainder are legitimate users. The ratio of new spam accounts to legitimate users spiked several months ago and hasn't gone down, there was a time not long ago when legitimate users outnumbered spam accounts by a lot.

    • Because the email spammers found other, more profitable and efficient methods to spread advertising onto the web?

      You mean it WASN'T because of snipers?

      Darn!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Amazon is offering a bulk emailer for businesses via its cloud services arm Amazon Web Services.

    Amazon's Simple Email Service - Amazon SES to its friends - allows you to send up to 2,000 emails a day for free, if they come from another Amazon cloud service. The book and services giant says that messages can be sent for as little as 10 cents per thousand.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/25/amazon_email_cloud/ [theregister.co.uk]

    gentlemen, fire up your DNSBL

  • In theory, the spammers make money from people who read their messages or click on the links in those messages? Who actually reads this crap, and who the hell clicks on the links? Perhaps we could us this as a test? People who repeatedly open spam emails lose the right to breed, thus increasing the intelligence of society as a whole? I really fail to see why this problem even exists...
    • IIRC correctly, there was a FP slashdot article years back that broke down the economics of spam and the short version is: Just a few clicks easily pays for millions of sent messages.
      • by mrbcs (737902)
        I don't have the source, but this was on TV in Southern Ontario a few years ago. Residents thought a neighbor was selling drugs. New cars, new furniture, new tv etc coming into the house all the time and it didn't look like anyone had a real job. Turns out the kid was 18 and was selling penis enlargement pills via spam. He would offer a money back guarantee! $50 a bottle and he would buy them for $5. He had employed both of his sisters to package the product and mail them out. Who is going to call their cre
    • by arth1 (260657)

      Indeed. It makes it tempting to send out reverse honeypot spams and scams to millions of e-mail addresses, and [insert desired action] whoever tries to order something.

      As long as 1 out of 100,000 orders something from a spam, it's highly profitable to send out a few million spam e-mails for a few bucks. It's those 1 out 100,000 that finance the "industry" and is the problem. Kill them with fire.

    • by jfengel (409917)

      It's impossible to estimate the click-through rate, but it's not zero. Even if spamming isn't profitable, the fact that there's money to be taken on one side will attract people on the other. It may well be that the actual spam-senders are fleecing gullible people on both sides.

      That generates a reason for spam to exist, and there's no reason to moderate spam. Spam bots don't rest, and even if you've hit every email address in existence, you might as well hit it again, just in case you can slip this one p

    • by eleuthero (812560)
      Most spam is unsophisticated junk. When you get that link from a friend (they've forged the sender info or else pwned the account) with actual text "thought this was interesting, what do you think?" type of thing, it can be tempting (at least it would be if you weren't aware of the possibilities). If you aren't given training in an area, there should be no expectation that people wouldn't click on a link from a friend (I admit, I don't understand the viagra spam incentives at all unless they are aimed at Jr
      • I see your point, basically the few and the stupid are spoiling it for the rest of us, but I still don't really see how someone could be that gullible. I've had multiple systems connected to the internet since 1994, and didn't have a firewall until sometime in 2003 and I've NEVER contracted a virus. Snail mail spam doesn't make it into my house either. There's a reason that the recycle bin is between the mail box and the door. And no, I'm not that smart...
        • by eleuthero (812560)
          I think I am mostly saying not that people are stupid or gullible, merely that they are either not informed or are badly informed as to internet safety practices. This is not, I've worked in a high school for several years, something covered in technology courses, nor is it something most people are going to treat as relevant information.

          I will agree with your point on stupidity, however, as it applies to certain individuals I know. I've said time and again (to simplify things for them)--don't go to websi
  • I would like to be able to report that this dip in spam correlates with a serious of brutal murders that authorities describe as "totally baffling and, y'know, really not worth the trouble of figuring out" rather than the much more mundane "slow increases in the effectiveness of filtering, along with migration to social networking and IM spam"...
  • You wouldn't know it wading through the journal section...

  • News Flash! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fishexe (168879) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @03:10PM (#34997986) Homepage
    News flash! A constantly fluctuating quantity is at the lowest point it's been since a short time ago! Everybody rush to go turn on CNN and hear more about this vital piece of news!
    • As of a week or two ago, the Usual Internet Pundits were reporting that spam was back up to its Pre-Christmas-Break levels. December and January may still count as low-volume months, because the botnets took two weeks off, but the bots are rested, relaxed, and back at work making the Internets a profitable place for blood-sucking parasites again.

    • The amount of spam has increased it's just that the amount of legitimate crap has increased more.
    • by lennier (44736)

      News flash! A constantly fluctuating quantity is at the lowest point it's been since a short time ago! Everybody rush to go turn on CNN and hear more about this vital piece of news!

      Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to invest in the consolidated Dow Jones Spam Index.

      • by fishexe (168879)

        News flash! A constantly fluctuating quantity is at the lowest point it's been since a short time ago! Everybody rush to go turn on CNN and hear more about this vital piece of news!

        Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to invest in the consolidated Dow Jones Spam Index.

        Sorry, that market does not exist. But I can enlarge your penis for the low, low price of $9.95 per month!

    • Wait, I thought a few weeks ago Slashdot was reporting how it's spiked back up since a few weeks before that.
  • There is now so much advertising everywhere that "spam" is starting to become an old, obsolete and minor nuisance.
  • I'm guessing this is because spam is simply not getting through email filters in the same quantity as in the past making it pointless to send.
    • Spammers are moving to other methods, increasing attacks on social networks, forums, etc.

    • What sort of spam detection are people using on clients?
    • Nothing is getting through email filters in the same quantity as in the past.

      It's getting pointless to send anything from an account that isn't Gmail. And if filters aren't bad enough, most people I know out in meatspace don't respond to anything that isn't sent through Facebook. I feel like email is already dead except for the corporate world.
  • by dstar (34869) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @03:17PM (#34998088)

    How is 75.7 65.9% _lower_ than 83.9? Or are they saying that total email traffic has dropped by ~60% over the last year, and that 75.7% of current email traffic is only 28.7% of the volume in January 2010?

    Or is the lack of caffiene causing my ALU to malfunction?

    • by Nimloth (704789)
      Rate and volume are not the same.
      The spam volume was 65.9% lower than previous year. The spam rate also went down.
    • by OverlordQ (264228)

      The volume of spam in circulation this month was 65.9% lower than for the same period one year ago, in January 2010, when the spam rate was 83.9%

  • Significant digits. I has them.

  • I'm been getting more spam for about the last two weeks than any other time in recent memory. To be fair, that's more spam getting past filters and into my inbox, not total volume. So perhaps total spam volume IS down, but spam's effectiveness is up?
  • In a recession everyone cuts back on their marketing budgets.

  • We're done here guys. Nothing more to do.
  • I've heard that wearing boxer shorts and loose fitting pants can help.

  • Yeah? Evidently they're just sending it to my Yahoo! accounts then....
  • Makes you wonder, if botnet operators aren`t spamming at full throttle, what are they assigning the botnets to do?

    For example, during the Anonymous e-offensive in defense of Wikileaks, Wikileaks came under attack as well, which coincided with a significant drop in spam levels.

  • While I'm sure the amateurs at MessageLabs actually believe that they can measure a distributed, fluctuating, multivariate event such as "spam" to three significant digits, perhaps their efforts would be more effective if they directed them toward stopping the spam that's coming FROM MessageLabs -- the most recent example of which seen here is barely a week old. Of course, "MessageLabs works to stop gaping security hole in their own infrastructure" isn't nearly as catchy a headline.
  • I get probably a dozen emails delivered to my non-white listed folder every day (ie: through my providers spam filters) that are obviously phishing emails.

    Really, any time an email comes in that contains a hyper link, where the content of the link is a URL, and that URL doesn't have the same domain as the src of the link, bounce the damn email as non-deliverable.

    Yeah, I'm smart enough to not go to "us.battle.net.gonna.steal.your.password.com" or to "us.brttle.net" but really, why should these emails make it

  • I have had a domain name since uunet! days. There are only a very few valid account names on it, but starting maybe ten years ago, it started getting email for nonexistent accounts like bill123@. About 5 years ago, it reached 40K messages a day, only 200 or so being legit (from mailing lists) and kept on growing, with a peak sometime last year of typically 600K messages a day, sometimes hitting 1M for a day or two. It's been dropping all last year, and now averages around 50K messages a day. Still only

    • by DamonHD (794830)

      Hi,

      Yes, I have some similarly old addresses that initially were bang-path routed and I also have seen spates of @ combinations, often tried alphabetically, though I wasn't counting. In fact, the logging of rejections was starting to become a significant source of potential wear on my server SSD storage...

      Rgds

      Damon

  • by bmo (77928)

    I have an email address that relies on greylisting. http://www.greylisting.org/ [greylisting.org]

    Years ago, at first, I would get 3 or 4 spams.

    Now I get 150 in 12 hours. Spambots are becoming more RFC compliant and resending after a 5xx or 4xx error. And instead of simply firing off *one* copy, I get 3 or 4. Previously spambots had been all fire-and-forget with no resending. Legitimate mail is dwarfed. And while my filtering on my mail client picks off the spam, I always still have to vgrep the trash for false positives

    • by panda (10044)

      My experience is that the spambots are currently more compliant with RFCs than most legitimate servers.

  • This can probably be explained by the increasing number of avenues by which spam can be effectively delivered. Twitter and Facebook likely see more eyes more frequently than the average e-mail account.

    Pure speculation, but it makes sense to me.
  • "spam now accounts for 78.6 percent of all email traffic"

    "March 2009, when the global spam rate was 75.7 percent of all email traffic"

    "January 2010, when the spam rate was 83.9% of all email traffic."

    BS. If you carefully define spam, you can get close to those numbers. My server is rejecting 94% of incoming mail outright, either from banned domains and IP ranges, or obvious spams in subjects, or fictitious senders, or redirects that are 100% spam. NO complaints from any of the users that they are missing

  • Symantec Spam has now reached an all time high on ./

  • My penis is so large now from all these various treatments that I can barely walk.
  • I suspect the spammers may have just moved to a different spamming medium.
  • Since 2009?! Impressive!

    Okay, granted, the internet and all its usage and spam grow like crazy, even in the span of 2 years.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.

Working...