Significant Drop In Spam Reported By McAfee

Will spam volumes continue to decrease or is this a temporary situation?

According to McAfee's newest research, global email spam volumes have decreased 20% in the first quarter of this year (2009) when compared to last year's rate during the same time period.

The recent report has some security experts baffled and others are contributing the findings to the November shut-down of the spam-generating McColo site. At one point in time last year, a month after McColo was shut-down, spam was still on the increase despite the demise of McColo. However, the end of McColo did hinder many botnets as the controllers were not able to send out commands to the infected machines in the same fashion. This may be the case as to the recent decline in spam, botnets are not running as ramped as they use too.

Spam still accounts for 86% of the over-all email volume. Recent figures before McAfee's latest research were around 90%. The new level is one that has not been seen since 2006. McAfee, along with other security research firms, believe spam will probably not continue to decline. The main question that everyone is asking is; when will the spam levels return to previous rates?

35% of the worlds spam output is accounted for in the U.S. That means there is a relatively high number of compromised computers in the U.S. Other nations have issues with spam as well especially when you consider the outbreak of new botnets and infections such as Conficker Worm. Criminals have been attacking Russian networks including their government and banking systems to use resources to generate malware-containing spam messages.

It is evident that criminals do not limit their malicious actions to certain regions of the world. They will attack any network, including banking or other interests to them, especially if it is a vulnerable target.

Malicious web activity, however, from websites hosting malware originate in primarily the three countries of the U.S., China and Russia. Just this last quarter, as reported in McAfee's report, malicious web activity has increased from sites located in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Canada, Korea, France, Czech Republic and Japan.

Do you think spam will increase or decrease this year and why?