Spam Traffic Returns after Holiday Break

Spam activity ceased almost completely over the holidays, but apparently vacation is over and spam is back in business.

Spammers are people too...apparently. They have families and want to take a vacation to spend quality time with them over the traditional holiday break just like everyone else. Or, at least that is the way that it appears if you follow the trends in spam traffic.

Spam volume dropped precipitously and inexplicably as of December 25. According to blog posts from both Symantec and Proofpoint, spam dropped to virtually zero beginning Christmas day and continued at that pace until this week. As of January 9, spam is once again alive and well.

The Symantec blog outlines the scenario, "On December 25, 2010, Rustock, the largest of the spam botnets, went quiet. Why this happened, we don't know but what we do know is that global spam levels dropped massively as a result. MessageLabs Intelligence analysts did not expect this respite to last, and sadly we were right."

Meanwhile, the Proofpoint blog expresses very similar sentiments. "As they say, all things come to an end and, as expected, the unusual lull in spamming activity between Christmas and the new year seems to have come to an end early today."

Proofpoint describes the resurgent spam content. "The messages here still seem pretty heavy on pharma spam, but there are a few items that are possible phish, also a larger number of Asian language messages."

What does that mean for you? Well, it means that the spam purveyors apparently gave the world a holiday gift in the form of a brief respite from the constant deluge of pointless, and often malicious e-mails. But, it also means that the death of spam was too good to be true, and that it is still too soon to be scrapping your anti-spam defenses.

Thankfully, most PC spam filtering tools do at least an adequate--if not admirable--job of identifying and blocking spam messages. I probably receive a hundred or more spam e-mails per day, but it's rare that any of them make it to my Inbox. As long as they get caught and redirected to the Junkmail folder, all is well and I can simply delete the contents of the folder and go on with life.

On smartphones and tablets, however, spam filtering is much less mature--if it exists at all. On both my iPhone and my iPad, e-mail messages that are filtered to Junkmail on my PC end up cluttering the Inbox because there is no spam filtering capability for these devices. One solution is to switch to Web-based e-mail such as Google's Gmail which has robust spam filtering features built in.

I guess we should just be thankful for the holiday break, and keep our fingers crossed that the spammers have big plans for Spring Break as well.

Join the newsletter!

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

Tags spamantispammessagelabsvirusessecurityspam blockersphishingintelmalwaresymantecproofpoint

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

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?