The main highlights of the report include:
- Streaming media and downloads are among the top 10 Web site categories infected with malware and/or manipulated by phishing. These are two of the most popular categories within user-generated content sites.
- McColo, one of the largest hosts of cyber-criminal gangs, was effectively shut down in November 2008, causing spam levels to drop to one-third their usual level for several weeks.
- Spam levels averaged 72 pecent of all e-mail traffic throughout the quarter, falling briefly to 59 percent following the McColo closing in November.
- An average of 301,000 zombies were newly activated each day for the purpose of malicious activity.
- Brazil led in zombie computer activity, producing 14.6 percent of zombies at the end of the quarter.
- Spammers continue to exploit legitimate sites like Google docs to bypass content filtering systems.
Did your see that part about spam averaging 72 percent of all email traffic in Q4? That’s insane. I’ve argued for years that spam is a denial-of-service attack, and I wonder if people will finally agree with me. If 72 percent of all the resources that are devoted to sending, routing, and receiving e-mail on the entire planet are being wasted, then that is truly horrific.
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the carbon footprint or energy use of various Internet services, for example that it costs x watts to run a Google query. The carbon footprint of spam is enormous.
And the economic ramifications of so much spam are at least as important.
Spam is bad, m’kay?