Spam Rates Skyrocketing

For our first post to the MX News Blog, I thought it would be appropriate to dive into the hotest story of the Late Fall/Early Winter- Spam rates have soared (sored) into the stratosphere. According to Postini, Spam volumes increased by 60% in September and October. Barracuda networks reported an increase of 67% during roughly the same time frame. What does this mean in terms of raw numbers? Well, Postini reports that it monitored 70 Billion Emails during September and October and 91% were Spam. That means that there were 60.4 Billion or SPAM messages filtered in September and October by Postini ALONE! That is an increase of 30 Billion over two months.

Estimates have placed the total number of Spam messages sent to be 55 Billion Per day…and that was in June, 2006, BEFORE the massive uptick we have seen this Fall/Winter. Any business that doesn’t have an airtight Spam and Virus filter in place RIGHT NOW is in danger of having Spam render their email useless, possibly (probably) open the door(s) for massive virus and malware infections on their networks, destroy their “Email Reputation,” and jeoprodize their business viability. It is that serious.     

Not only are the Spammers busy flooding the entire system with gargantuan amounts of bandwidth chewing, productivity killing Spam, they are dictating the rules of the filtering game as well. For example, there has been a huge increase in Image Spam over the past several months. Why? Because many Spam filtering solutions are entirely text based. So, Spammers build messages with layers of images to slip past inadequate filters, hog more bandwidth than before and land in millions of inboxes daily. Here is an example:



Don’t call your stock broker just yet 🙂 Image Spam is just the latest “innovation” by what I have coined the “Web Thugs” to bypass filters and continue with Web Thuggery as usual. Luckily for all of us, it is only effective at bypassing the, shall we say, less than robust filtering systems.

One final thought- Some Spam experts have suggested that the recent increase represents a collective last ditch effort by Spammers to salvage the last possible rewards from their efforts and that the Spam battle has reached the end-game. I tend to disagree. There is no question that Spammers are making money…tens of millions of dollars a year in some cases. There is also no question that this money is made a few cents at time. In my mind, the economics of Spam dictate that Spammers must constantly increase the number of messages they are sending, especially as more and more of those messages are intercepted by filters. To me, economics explains the Spam explosion, nothing else. While I hope to see the day when Spam and Spammers are nothing more than a footnote in the Internet history books, I do not believe that day is yet upon us. In the meantime, let’s be thankful that we have Spam filters that keep the nasty stuff off of our networks and out of our inboxes…I know I am.

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