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Botnets Generate 87.9% of Total Spam Messages

Symantec, a world renowned online security solution provider, has recently made a revelation that botnets are liable for almost nine of ten spam messages hitting inboxes.

According to security researchers, botnets are an assimilation of malware infected computers that run automatically and autonomously.

The term has become a synonym of malicious software but it could also refer to a network of computers that use distributed computing solutions. Malicious botnets, which proliferate spam, are usually named after the software they spread on clean computers.

With the shutdown of PriceWert and McColo in last few months, several marketers have got a feeling that they have a better chance of sneaking their messages into users' inboxes. However, the situation gets reverse and several new botnets have made mark in the cyber world in absence of these these two botnets.

Of the newly surfaced botnets, GRUM is attributed to be the most active by MessageLab researchers for its voluminous generation of spam at over 20% of total messages. This is followed by BOBAX that alone contributed around 16% of spam messages. RUSTOCK is the largest among the botnets, with 1.3-1.9 Million infected machines that send spam to innocent users.

Symantec also found that a newly built botnet called 'Maazben' had taken a giant leap forward since the beginning of its operations in late May. This is mainly used to send casino-related spam while RUSTOCK, one the largest and oldest botnets, has doubled its size since June 2009.

Paul Wood, Senior Analyst, Symantec MessageLabs Intelligence, said that Maazben seemed to send 1.4% of overall spam messages on an average, but it was gradually raising its activities and MessageLabs was expecting further increment, as reported by SCMAGAZINE on September 30, 2009.

Wood said that the analysis of spam messages sent by Maazben clarified that it dealt with casino and gambling related spam and if any computer user came across these types of messages, then it would probably have come from this botnet. It would not be wrong to say that the spam generation of Maazben might get double by the end of this year as it had been ramping up its activities.

Meesagelabs researchers have also expressed worry over a new threat of botnets use against e-mail marketing companies in coming days.

Related article: Botnet Misuses Google Analytics

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