Spam to Reach All-Time High in 2009

Dennis Faas's picture

Anyone who has ever owned a computer has likely been the victim of spam. But while most of us would be quick to hit the delete button at the first sign of an unfamiliar (and potentially harmful) email, others are analyzing its components in the hopes of finding common traits amongst viruses in order to predict the frequency and sophistication of future attacks.

Spam-haters around the world recently celebrated when San Jose-based McColo was shut down in November 2008, after it was discovered that the web hosting service provider was trafficking high levels of malware from their servers.

The shutdown resulted in a 70 percent email-wide decrease in spam. Now former McColo spammers, alongside an ever increasing field of emergent hackers, appear determined to drive back figures to previous conditions. As of press time, spam levels are within five percentage points of their pre-McColo shutdown numbers. (Source:

There is another factor that concerns analysts: most of the figures were taken in November 2008 following the demise of McColo. November is not, however, a peak month for spammers. This means that if spam figures are already at a November 2008 level, the numbers could be staggering by the end of 2009.

Analysts estimate that the average unprotected computer received almost 45,000 spam messages in 2008; an alarming figure when compared to the 36,000 figure taken at the end of 2007. (Source:

Spam and Link-Based Attacks on the Rise

At the lowest point in November 2008 (remember spam had decreased 70% after the McColo shut down) spam was still 25 percent higher than in November 2007!

Analysts predict that there is no immediate end in sight for viruses or malware, as link-based attacks are expected to be even more frequent and sophisticated in 2009.

For now, all the average computer user can do is run continual and in-depth virus scans to reduce the number of attacks.

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