If a renewed surge in spam continues on this track, 90% of all e-mail will be spam by the end of the year, according to a new report.
A flood of spam coming out of China and South Korea is fueling a 30% jump in spam levels in just the past week, according to the Australia-based Marshal's Threat Research and Content Engineering Team. It reports that spam volume is at its highest peak ever, increasing 280% since just last October.
"The increase in spam coming out of the region is likely the result of a newly activated botnet running off computers in Asia," said Bradley Anstis, a director at Marshal, in a written statement. "Approximately 85% of all emails received are spam. If the current increases in spam volumes continue in 2007, users can expect at least 90% of all emails received to be spam by the end of the year."
Earlier in February, Symantec's monthly spam report showed that the amount of spam sent out hit a high in December and stayed there in January. The total volume of spam had ratcheted up 55% in the last six months.
What was noteworthy in the Symantec report was that pornographic spam has shown a marked decline in recent months, while pump-and-dump messages are on a wild ride.
Symantec's monthly spam report shows that "adult," or pornographic, spam only accounted for 4% of all the spam that was sent out in January. In the first half of last year, adult spam accounted for 22% of spam messages. Financial spam, which includes pump-and-dump schemes, went from 15% of all messages in the first half of last year to 25% last month.
Pump-and-dump scams tout a specific company's stock with misleading or outright fraudulent statements sent out in spam. After consumers race out to buy the stock and pump up the price, the spammers cash in by selling, or dumping, their shares at the inflated price.
Marshal analysts predict that spam will remain one of the most significant security threats facing businesses in 2007.
"Many in the industry predicted that the spam problem would be resolved by now," Anstis said, "yet in 2007 it is difficult to foresee when spam filters will no longer be required."