Spam hit an all-time high this year, with more unwanted messages pouring in from a smorgasbord of countries, thanks in part to globalization. Such are the findings of a recent and comprehensive report on all things security-related from IBM X-Force.
The typical spam message has sources as diverse as the spam lunch meat; it's sent from a machine located in the United States, India, or Brazil, and it contains a .ru URL (Russia's top-level domain) that's hosted in China. The trend illustrates the global challenge of fighting spam as well as phishing. If a country manages to crack down on all or even part of a spammer operation, the purveyors can easily find refuge in more tolerant (or less vigilant) countries.
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Spammers have managed to rebound from the McColo Shutdown in 2008, a setback that occurred when a rogue ISP in California called McColo was closed off. Spam levels dropped by almost 50 percent after the incident and remained stagnant for into early 2009. But by November 2009, spam levels were double those of the pre-McColo shutdown -- and they reached an all-time high last June. The IBM report doesn't specify how much spam is sent out daily, but according to Commtouch, 183 billion spam messages were sent out daily during the first quarter of 2010.
The United States remains the top origination point of spam, sending out nearly 10 percent of the total global crop. Brazil is second on the list, responsible for 8.4 percent, followed closely by India at 8.1 percent. Russia has risen to fourth place as the originator of 5.3 percent of the planet's junk mail. In fifth is Vietnam, churning out 4.6 percent.