Symantec: Spam Levels at 12 Year Low

Recent reports from Cyber security giant Symantec indicates that email spam levels are now at the lowest point seen in the past 12 years. According to the report spam emails dropped to 49.7% of all emails sent in June 2015. Spam email levels fell even more in July, dropping to 46.4% of total email volume. Symantec also said that the volume of phishing campaigns also saw a drop during June 2015.

A number of reasons have been given for the fall in spam levels, including bringing a number of hackers to justice and closing down their criminal networks, in addition to shutting down a number of rampant botnet networks, many of which were operating in the United Kingdom.

The botnets were discovered by UK police forces which set up the arrests. UK and European internet service providers had been working together with the police and passed on information on suspected botnets, helping to reduce the effectiveness of the networks, ultimately resulting in many being shut down.

While this is good news, this does not indicate that there has been a drop in risk. Phishing schemes may have seen a small fall, but the amount of malware variants now being discovered has increased dramatically. The variation in malware is causing an issue, as the malicious software is becoming harder to spot. The extent of the increase in variants is massive. In just two months the number of malware types had almost doubled from 29.2 million in April to 57.6 million pieces of malware found by Symantec in July. This is the second highest figure recorded in the past 12 months, with only November 2014 seeing more malware attacks caught (63.6 million).

The types of attack landscape taking place is always changing, with hackers now diversifying their attack vectors. Ransomware for instance, is becoming more common. Just under half a million attacks (477,000) were thwarted by Symantec in June, with the volume of ransomware having risen for two consecutive months.

While hackers located in the UK and United States may be diversifying attack vectors, hackers in other countries still use email spam mainly, with eastern Europe and China still seeing huge volumes of spam emails being sent. It is certainly not a time become complacent in relation to email spam.

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Elizabeth Hernandez

Elizabeth Hernandez is a news writer on Defensorum. Elizabeth is an experienced journalist who has worked on many publications for several years. Elizabeth writers about compliance and the related areas of IT security breaches. Elizabeth's has a focus data privacy and secure handling of personal information. Elizabeth has a postgraduate degree in journalism. Elizabeth Hernandez is the editor of HIPAAZone.