Spam volumes increase to pre-McColo takedown levels
Mega-D botnet spewing out junk mail torrent
Junk mail levels are back to 80-90 per cent of their volumes prior to the takedown of infamous junk mail-friendly ISP McColo in November 2008 last year.
Spam levels are up 4.9 percentage points since December 2008 to 74.6 percent, reaching levels close to those prior to the McColo takedown, according to an analysis by email and web filtering firm MessageLabs published on Monday.
It reports that the Mega-D (Ozdoc) botnet is making the largest single contribution to junk mail levels, sending more than 26m spam emails per minute. Meanwhile, the Cutwail (Pandex) remains the largest active botnet with more than 1m active IPs this month. MessageLabs is yet to see any junk mail from machines compromised by the Conficker worm.
In other spam-related news, security researchers at Trend Micro were surprised to discover that items of dating spam in a recent junk mail run were spoofed so that they appeared to come from the security heavyweight.
But spammers got things badly wrong in the the design of the spam run, which comes in the run-up to Valentine's Day. By tampering with the From field in the messages, junk mailer hoped to sneak their useless messages past spam filters.
However the hackers in this case erred badly, because the From and Reply-To addresser in junk mail messages are spoofed. As a result, "the spammers themselves aren’t getting the replies or even the bounces to the spammed messages they sent," writes Mary Ermitano, an anti-spam research engineer at Trend Micro. "This attack is apparently just a waste of resources for spammers."
The spam run seeks to promote websites while also seeking to validate email addresses for later, possibly more insidious, junk mail runs. The junk mail messages in this case are not in themselves pointed at malware and don't point to malware infected sites - at least not yet.
A full write up of the attack, more of which can be expected to surface on the run-up to Valentine's Day on 14 February, can be found here. ®
mailwasher pro has cut spam getting to my inbox to zero.
i hope the spammers read this.
Easy way to prevent spam
Filtering - Either a hard content filter at the "mail server end" that does it by header checking only
or software like Mail Washer / Mail Washer Pro. Pro has a few more features but isn't free - the features being the ability to send spam to spamcop, after you've registered with them, let it detect your ISP mailservers and it's good to go can tell it's spoofed.. I don't get any in my gmail account, loads in my ISP based one worst I've see was 100/106 spam some were from "me" as well, which is the annoying part.
ISP is getting good at marking the spam as spam, my address book is all in Mail washer's "friends" list so it's marked as ok even if my ISP get's it wrong, also lets me check to see if they mark e-mail wrong so I don't dump something I shouldn't :D
My Yahoo e-mail - I clear it out often loads of spam in it too.
My Hotmail - a few what I hate is it doesn't tell you if you have new mail if you've got a rule to send it to a folder, then again it is free :P
Spam levels did go down but are back up again seems very variable at the moment...
I'll check my counters and see how bad it really is.
What is really needed....
....is for the CIA to round up all these spammers, line them up against a wall, and open fire