Some 200 billion spam emails were being sent everyday in August last year but by December that figure had dropped to around 50 billion, Symantec’s net filtering business MessageLabs reports.
Three of the largest culprits, the so-called botnets – Rustock, Lethic and Xarvester – have slashed their output over Christmas, meaning consumers no longer have to wade through pages of penis enlargement, porn and dodgy investment offers.
According to the study, Rustock spam was down to less than 0.5 per cent of worldwide junk email in December. Yet at its peak, it was responsible for almost half of all spam sent globally, according to a separate report.
It is believed spammers may be turning to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to distribute junk messages, although MessageLabs claims the drop is unlikely to be anything more than a temporary blip.
Mathew Nisbet, a malware data analyst at MessageLabs Symantec, said: “At present we don’t know why these botnets have stopped spamming, perhaps the botnet herders have decided they need a holiday too?
“Whilst this is an excellent gift over the holiday season for anyone who regularly uses email, we would not expect the level of spam to stay this low for long.”
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