Global decline in spam e-mail could be “shortlived”

Thursday, 13 January 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


London (ANI): The recent global decline in junk e-mail could be shortlived, with the network of infected computers used to produce spam springing back to life after a lull of several weeks.

The Rustock botnet, as it is known, mysteriously stopped sending junk e-mails in early December, resulting in a massive decline in spam, but now security firm NetWitness has found that it has restarted its activity on January 10.

Alex Cox of NetWitness said the reason for the lull was not immediately apparent, and those controlling Rustock do not appear to have made major strategic changes to their spamming campaigns.

“As best we can tell, they took a holiday. The people running Rustock are running a business – albeit an illegitimate one – so maybe they needed time off too,” the BBC quoted Cox as saying.

Security firm Symantec Hosted Services has also detected Rustock’s reawakening.

According to Paul Wood, a senior analyst at the firm, Rustock is now pumping out more than a quarter of all spam circulating worldwide, and on January 10 alone it is expected to have sent out 67 billion junk e-mails.

Rather than the spammers enjoying a Christmas break, he believes the lull in Rustock’s activity was most likely because the botnet owners rented it out to new spammers.