Global Spam Levels in Mysterious Month-on-Month Fall

Mike Halsey MVP
Jan 10, 2011
Updated • Feb 25, 2014

It's been reported that the total volume of global spam email that is being sent has fallen, month-on-month since the beginning of August 2010 and nobody knows why.

The fall, which you can see in the graph below, shows a steady decline from almost a quarter of a trillion messages every day to just 50 billion now.  The largest drop was seen over the Christmas period when the total volume of spam halved in just a few short days.

Security experts are warning that the lull may not last though they are at a loss to explain why the global spam levels have dropped so far and so regularly in recent months.

Around the same time two other global spam botnets also went quiet.

While we have seen global drops in spam before, it is uncommon for a drop to last so long.  It will be interesting to see if the levels rise again or if they will continue to drop for the next few months.

Update: Recent statistics by Cisco show that spam has not risen up again to pre-2011 values. The last three months of 2012 for instance have seen a spam count of less than 100 billion each, and the highest recorded number was 141 million in June 2011. After that, spam dropped considerable to around 100 billion messages per day with the lowest count recorded at 74.2 billion spam messages per day in January 2012


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  1. Dan Zimmerli said on January 11, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Three major botnets were dismantled and the ringleaders all arrested. No mystery here, move along.

  2. Crodol said on January 11, 2011 at 10:08 am

    “the US which generates the most spam worldwide”

    nothing new there ;-)

  3. Martin said on January 10, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I’m seeing a huge decrease in website spam on Ghacks as well, it has dropped to about 5000 spam comments and pings from 16000 previously.

  4. Avatar X said on January 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I think it has several causes:

    1.-2010 was a year where all of the Top 3 E-mail providers updated spam filters heavily, started to cooperate on blacklisting spoof spam and malware spam.

    2.-Huge lot of proseccution of spammers, convictions, etc.

    3.-Spam effectivity and economic rewards have been on a freefall during the last 18 months according to reports on the subject.

    4.-Socially Enginered Spam/Malware/Spyware has been proven to be a lot more effective compared to Spam e-mail and just as cheap.

  5. Yoav said on January 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Looks like the spammers forgot to come back from their summer vacation…

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