Spam takes a holiday?

It's been on the decline, but 'tis the season for a return to work

The volume of spam measured by Symantec for its most recent monthly report shows a continuing decrease over the past several months. Global spam was down in October by 22.5 percent from September, and down 47 percent from August.

This is due in part to the shutdown of several spam operations, but it also reflects an overall reduction in the volume e-mail measured by the company. The total number of messages observed by the company dropped from about 230 billion on the first of August to 100 billion at the end of October. Still, the percentage of spam in October was 86.6 percent, which Symantec said was the lowest since September 2009.

Before you write spam’s obit, however, remember that the holiday season is upon us, and Symantec says they are coming early.

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“Though consumers may be keeping a conservative hold on their wallets, spammers have already started their holiday spam campaign blitz,” the report says. “Symantec has observed a variety of spam using the holiday angle including: replica, online pharmacy and even the 419-type Nigerian scam. With the holidays just around the corner, we expect spammers to pick up the volume of holiday spam.”

The United States is a leading producer of unwanted e-mail, accounting for 27 percent of spam, 50 percent of phishing lures and 50 percent of phishing hosts.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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