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Botnets Still Ahead of Anti-Spam Systems

According to a new threat analysis report by US-based firm Commtouch, anti-spam systems around the world are waging a furious battle against the spam-spewing botnets although the fight appears to yield little results, as reported by network world on July 11, 2008.

Meanwhile, as per the organization's zombie monitor, most botnets will shift to new zombies by the time monitoring machine or other source analysis devices identify compromised computers and servers that send spam every day.

The organization also indicated that given a median of 10 Million zombies active on any day in Q2 2008, the sole way to slow down the spam wave is by using expensive reactive systems at the e-mail gateway or ISP.

Meanwhile, service providers are struggling to tackle the spam that silently flows out from their customers and this poses a risk to some service providers as other could blacklist their IP address. The problem, however, is more apparent in less developed countries. Moreover, Commtouch has identified two ISPs, Verizon and Telecomitalia.it, with 500,000 and 1.2 Million actively running zombies respectively across their computer network over a month's period.

Commtouch has also found that the level of spam during Q2 2008 averaged 77%, covering a range from 64% at the lowest level to 94% at the peak of the total e-mails sent at the end of the quarter. It further indicated that the US fell to the ninth position in hosting the number of zombies worldwide, while Turkey occupied the first place with 11% of the total zombies.

Furthermore, pharmaceutical spam comprising 40% of the total spam was found to be most prolific. Also, spammers conducted experiments with Chinese-language spam. And phishing scams targeted higher education community as well as users of Google Adwords.

Finally, according to Commtouch's analysis, updating process of threats often fails to keep pace with the threats and by the time it will finish, spam have shifted to a new bunch of zombies. And while ISPs are primarily responsible to safeguard their subscribers from unsolicited e-mails, they are also obliged to make sure that their customers do not become a part of spam-spewing botnets.

Related article: Botnet Misuses Google Analytics

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