A recent report said that spam messages spiked in the latter half of 2009 to 3 billion/day, mostly due to the rise of botnets.
The amount of spam email has been pretty stable the last few years, hovering around the 600 million spam messages per day. But according to a report from M86 security released today, the rise of several botnets with inventive names like Zeus and Koobface has created a huge increase in the amount of spam in the latter half of 2009. A botnet is a group of PCs that are unwittingly controlled from an outside source, usually by installing a piece of malicious software. M86 security claimed that 78% of all spam originates from computers in the five biggest botnets.
"The spamming botnets are constantly in flux, waxing and waning, morphing, becoming obsolete, being replaced, taken down, and upgraded," the report said. "It is important to identify the major contributors to the volume of spam, so the industry can take action against them, such as the botnet takedowns that have already occurred. Consider the impact on Spam levels if the top 2 or 3 botnets were disabled."
I'm not sure if it's because I generally use gmail, but my personal visibility of spam has actually decreased over the last few years. Sure, I still get random emails containing only Russian characters or promises of increased ... virility, but it seems to me that the situation is better than it was, say, ten years ago. Perhaps that's why the spammers are increasing their efforts. Less messages are making their way through the filters so they're trying to drown us in spam.
That's not to say that I'm not all for someone taking down these botnets. Any shadowrunners out there want to make a few extra nuyen?