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article imageSpam and junk email levels decreasing globally

By Kev Hedges     Jan 6, 2011 in Technology
The amount of junk emails and spam being sent around the world has fallen dramatically over the past month. Spam volumes have been in decline since August last year but December saw a huge drop.
Security firm, Symantec Hosted Solutions, detected around 200 billion spam messages being sent globally every day in August 2010. In December that figure had fallen to 50 billion. It is not clear why the spam emails have declined so rapidly but senior analysts warn it may not last, reports BBC Technology.
Around late December, three of the world's largest spam producers went suddenly quiet and curtailed its activity. Most spam is sent by botnets, or networks of infected computers. One botnet, known as Rustock was responsible for 48 percent of the global spam production when at its peak, and Paul Wood, a senior analyst at Symantec says, "it's hard to say why, there have been huge drops in spam levels before", he added, "usually they have been associated with the botnets being disrupted. As far as we can tell Rustock is still intact".
One possible explanation is that the spammers are simply regrouping ahead of a new campaign. Two other major players are the spamming botnets, Lethic and Xarvester, have also been very quiet at the same time. Mr Wood also added that new spammers will always pop-up to replace inactive ones.
There have, however, been signs that spammers are turning to alternative methods to e-mail for distributing their messages - such as social network sites Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has recently overtaken Google as the most visited site in the US during 2010.
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