Spam recovers from a knockout blow

Spam volume has bounced back after the November McColo takedown cut it in half

The Internet is now officially as bad as ever, at least as far as spam goes.

Google reported Tuesday that in the second half of March, spam returned to the levels last seen just prior to the November 2008 takedown of McColo.

McColo was a hosting service based in San Jose, California, that was notorious for providing so-called "bulletproof" services to cybercriminals, who wanted to keep their servers running no matter what.

When McColo was knocked offline, it had a serious effect on the world's junk e-mail.

Spam levels dropped by half the instant the company's upstream Internet service providers - Global Crossing and Hurricane Electric - refused to service the ISP, effectively unplugging McColo from the Internet.

"Spammers have clearly rallied following the McColo takedown and overall spam volume growth during Q1 2009 was the strongest it's been since early 2008, increasing an average of 1.2 percent per day," wrote Google spokeswoman Amanda Kleha in a blog posting.

In the first quarter of last year, spam grew at 1 percent per day, which was a record at the time.

Data on another spam measurement site, Spamcop, also shows that spam has bounced back.

Spammers may be getting smarter, too, Kleha said. They seem to be building more robust botnets to send out their unwanted mail and also appear to be taking steps to avoid making their ISPs the kind of obvious target that McColo was.

"They have been building new botnets, like Conficker - which is undoubtedly designed to be difficult to take down," said Richard Cox, CIO of antispam organization Spamhaus, in an e-mail interview. He agreed with Google's conclusion that spam had now returned to pre-McColo levels.

"Spammers continue to prove their resilience," Kleha said. "They're clearly here to stay."

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags spammccolo

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?