Zombie PC Network Takedowns Drop Spam 47% in Q3: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

The worldwide volume of spam has decreased in the third quarter of this year, thanks in large part to the mass shutdowns of some major botnet systems. In their latest reports, security software companies Symantec and Kaspersky have found that spam volumes decreased 47 percent compared to August figures.

Botnets are formed when (for example) malicious software is unknowingly installed on an MS Windows PC. That PC then becomes part of a "zombie network" of infected systems which are then used to propagate spam email messages.

Kaspersky weighed in on the correlation between legitimate emails and spam messages, finding that the level of spam in all detected messages was at 82.3 per cent, down from 84.4 per cent. While it might not seem all that substantial, consider the amount of spam being sent out on a daily basis and the 2 per cent drop is in fact a massive decline. (Source: itpro.co.uk)

Botnet Takedowns Help Considerably

Many experts are pointing to the number of botnet takedowns as the reason for the favorable news. In total, over 20 control centers used by the Pushdo/Cutwail botnet were taken down in October. That botnet made up 10 per cent of all global spam and, not surprisingly, when the botnet began disappearing, the spam followed suit.

Another major coup saw the removal of many servers helping to fuel the Bredolab botnet, which was believed to have infected close to 30 million computers, most of which are believed to be MS Windows based PCs.

In addition, Spammit, a partner program responsible for those unwanted pharmaceutical spam messages that we have all come to know, has been phased out, helping to cut out another major portion of what has become "standard spam."

Malicious Attachments, Phishing on the Rise

Analysts have warned that while October has proved to be a major milestone in combating an otherwise ominous battle with spam, the war is still far from over. The same can be said for other security areas experiencing dismal trends.

At the start of the third quarter, Kaspersky found that the percentage of malicious attachments in email traffic surpassed the 6.3 per cent mark, making it the highest recorded figure to date. Another concern for security officials is the growing rate of phishing attacks: they spiked in October by almost 80 per cent compared to the previous month. (Source: com.au)

Thus, while spam levels were cut almost in half compared to August figures, it might just be a case of hackers setting their sights on other malicious endeavors.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet