back to article Spam volumes increase to pre-McColo takedown levels

Junk mail levels are back to 80-90 per cent of their volumes prior to the takedown of infamous junk mail-friendly ISP McColo in November 2008 last year. Spam levels are up 4.9 percentage points since December 2008 to 74.6 percent, reaching levels close to those prior to the McColo takedown, according to an analysis by email …


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  1. OneArmJack

    Gmail Spam Still Down

    Oddly, my Google Apps spam folder, which keeps spam for 30 days, is still down to around 500 messages, from a peak of 3000 just before the McColo shenanigans. Google have always been pretty good at filtering spam, but that doesn't explain why they're not even receiving it.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    A mere 74.6 percent...

    ...oh, how I dream of such low levels of spam! Just doing a quick total of the messages received at the (7-person) company I work for, I can say we're seeing more like 90.5 percent spam inbound. Of that, only about 3 percent of classified spam reaches users inboxes, but that's still several hundred messages a week!

    Bah Humbug!

    /me wanders off to the cloakroom muttering about wasted bandwidth...

  3. Vonga
    Thumb Down

    Spammers not getting replies or bounces?

    Since when did they want either? Whenever I open a spam it either has a link in it or a dodgy binary; for the latter kind I guess the last thing they'd want is any obvious return-path to the puppeteer.

  4. Andy Fletcher


    "the spammers themselves aren’t getting the replies or even the bounces to the spammed messages they sent," writes Mary Ermitano

    Since when does a spammer want replies? 26 million per minute might challenge the fastest readers just a tad. They just want the 100 or so clicks per 100000000 e-mails they send.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Who are they kidding?

    Spam levels at 74.6% - who are they kidding?

    Personally, I'd be rather pleased if they were that low. Of 100 attempted mail deliveries on the servers I manage, only 5-10 are not obvious spam (sent to non-existent addresses that have been scraped here and there, or coming from obvious infected machines in dynamic pools). That's a 90%-95% spam level.

  6. BK
    Thumb Down

    low percentage

    That figure is definitely low.

    We're seeing more like 98-99% junk, and that is backed up by different offices/countries.

    It's been getting worse since just before Christmas...

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Oh, Good. My Wee Was Shrinking.

    Oh dear! Did I say "Wee"? I meant "Wii". Yeah, that's the ticket. "Wii"...

  8. Heff
    IT Angle

    ISP whitelisting?

    Implementable? all you do is list email addresses you want to be able to send-from with your ISP, via some nice clunky text field on their website. they tag that text field to your IP#, and for the majority of botnet compromised users, wouldnt that massively reduce spam?

    thats assuming its even viable, though.

    Idea w/out technical knowledge, feel free to slam.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why are ISPs simply not kicking these botnet PCs off their networks? And if those ISPs won't do it, why are they not being blackholed? How hard is it?

    Jesus. Just stick the boot in good and hard, that'll learn them.

  10. David Eddleman


    "As a result, "the spammers themselves aren’t getting the replies or even the bounces to the spammed messages they sent," writes Mary Ermitano, an anti-spam research engineer at Trend Micro."

    Er. Spammers don't want replies. They forge the from: header (protip: this is known as spoofing). They don't care about bounces -- if it's spam, they'll have a link on a page (or embedded HTML) to know if an e-mail is valid or not. If it's phishing, they'll have an e-mail to reach them back at. This is elementary stuff.

  11. Adair Silver badge

    What's going on?

    Funny---I haven't had a single spam msge. today. Okay all the filters are running, but at least half a dozen usually slip through, but today, not one. And yesterday there were less than usual. Either I'm winning, or maybe the outfit who have my name got taken down. :-D

  12. Pierre
    Thumb Down

    No reply or bounce?

    Who's the genius who thought it was a flaw? that's how spammers usually do. Of course they don't want the bounce or the replies. If they want an e-mail answer, they include "please contact me on my private e-mail" in the body. If not, they just put in a website's adress (which is the case in this campain). I am no "spam researcher", but AFAIK the Reply-to and From field are ALWAYS spoofed because NO-ONE wants the bounces or the replies. The _contrary_ would be a mistake in design (how do you get the 5 juicy answers out of several million bounces and/or automated replies? Where do you store the lot before sorting?)

    So, either Mary Ermitano is really the spam researcher's godson's mother's hairdresser's neighbour, or you misunderstood what she said...

  13. Andrew Steer

    Spoofed senders

    I've been "lucky" enough to have a fictitious user@mydomain used as the forged "From" address on a few spam-runs in the past couple of years.

    How do you like 7000 non-delivery reports coming in in 2 hours, and then another 1500 trickling in over the next 48 hours?

    As a result I now route most standard "non-deliveries" to /dev/null by default. Of course this means that if I genuinely mis-type an email address I might not get to know about it... Small price to pay.

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  15. Anonymous Coward

    What is really needed.... for the CIA to round up all these spammers, line them up against a wall, and open fire

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Easy way to prevent spam

    Filtering - Either a hard content filter at the "mail server end" that does it by header checking only

    or software like Mail Washer / Mail Washer Pro. Pro has a few more features but isn't free - the features being the ability to send spam to spamcop, after you've registered with them, let it detect your ISP mailservers and it's good to go can tell it's spoofed.. I don't get any in my gmail account, loads in my ISP based one worst I've see was 100/106 spam some were from "me" as well, which is the annoying part.

    ISP is getting good at marking the spam as spam, my address book is all in Mail washer's "friends" list so it's marked as ok even if my ISP get's it wrong, also lets me check to see if they mark e-mail wrong so I don't dump something I shouldn't :D

    My Yahoo e-mail - I clear it out often loads of spam in it too.

    My Hotmail - a few what I hate is it doesn't tell you if you have new mail if you've got a rule to send it to a folder, then again it is free :P

    Spam levels did go down but are back up again seems very variable at the moment...

    I'll check my counters and see how bad it really is.

  17. william henderson


    mailwasher pro has cut spam getting to my inbox to zero.

    i hope the spammers read this.

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