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Botnet Takedowns Shrink E-Mail Junk, Though Temporarily

The anti-virus research laboratory of Kaspersky which published its new report, "Spam in the Third Quarter of 2010," outlines that although a number of huge sized botnets were taken down through coordinated operations during H2-2010 that shrunk the total spam worldwide, this shrinking was merely tentative.

States Kaspersky that during August-September, 2010 (Q3-2010), spam levels declined 1.5%. This, according to the company, is because of the shutdown of the Pushdo botnet's command-and-control (C&C) server during August 2010. Earlier Pushdo unleashed some 10% of the global e-mail junk.

Nevertheless, the takedown operation barely caused to keep the spam levels low. For, when Kaspersky Labs processed the total e-mail traffic, it found that spam continued to contribute 82.3% in total e-mail during July-September 2010, dropping from 84.4% during April-June 2010.

That's because, despite disabling the C&C structure of the botnet, it hardly took much time to bring together the contaminated PCs. By establishing a fresh command-and-control server, the contaminated PCs were brought under it and made to resume action, Kaspersky states. Threatpost.com reported this on November 10, 2010.

Significantly, the report reveals that Latin America after occupying No.2 position among the worse spam-generating countries during Q2-2010, came down to No.5 during Q3-2010, from a 16.3% level to 10.7%.

Nevertheless, Western Europe showed a rise in its spam volume among the total world spam to 23.1% during Q3-2010 from 16.2% during Q2-2010.

If this increased spam that Western Europe contributed is combined with the spam volumes of Russia and Eastern Europe then the entire e-mail junk originating from the whole European region means that its contribution was pretty high. Consequently, during September 2010, Europe's contribution to the global spam amounted to 40.7% jettisoning Asia, which accounted for 31.7% of the global spam, from the No.1 rank.

Furthermore, as per the latest spam report, spam mails having ZIP attachments as also other similar condensed-file attachments significantly grew in number during Q3-2010. Generally, e-mails of these kinds account for less than 0.5% of the entire spam; however, that figure increased during Q3-2010 to 2.6%. This has been attributed to the bulk e-mails sent out that carried malicious programs.

Related article: Botnet Misuses Google Analytics

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