JUNE 2, 2009
“We have met the enemy…and he is us.”
Everyone with an e-mail account knows what spam looks like. But where does it all come from, and where does it go?
One thing is certain—there is a lot of it.
According to MessageLabs, the percentage of worldwide e-mail traffic that is spam has been falling over the past few years, dropping from 86.2% in 2006 to 81.2% in 2008.
However, MessageLabs reported a 5.1% spike in spam over the past month. In May, a whopping 90.4% of worldwide e-mail traffic was spam.
The worst-hit area was Hong Kong, where 92% of all e-mail received was spam. Other highly spammed locales included China, the UK, Australia and Japan.
MessageLabs estimated that in the US, 87% of all e-mail was spam.
Nearly one-third of spam came from Europe, followed by Asia, South America and North America:
- 31.6% from Europe
- 27.8% from Asia
- 21.4% from South America
- 13.4% from North America
Whether recipients have spam with breakfast, lunch or dinner depends on geographic location.
Spammers were most active during the US working day, with spam e-mail peaking at 9am local time and gradually declining until midnight. But residents in Asian and European countries got most of their spam in the evening and throughout the day, respectively.
The heaviest spam days were Mondays and Fridays, and the lowest amount of spam was sent on Sundays.
Over one-half of spam (57.6%) was sent through botnets, collections of computers numbering in the thousands that send messages without the computer owner’s knowledge. Botnets named Donbot, Rustock and Cutwail operate on multiple continents around the globe.
Most of the spam that originated in the US came from smaller, unclassified botnets or free Webmail solutions—such as Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail—that are abused by spammers and cybercriminals.
Remember the CAN-SPAM Act introduced to great fanfare in 2003? The cheering has died down. But no one can argue that the law scared many spammers away. Read More Spam Splosion! – eMarketer.
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