Global Spam Levels in Mysterious Month-on-Month Fall - Update

Mike Halsey MVP
Jan 11, 2011
Updated • Dec 11, 2014

Yesterday I wrote here that global spam levels had dropped mysteriously month on month since August 2010 from a high of about a quarter of a trillion messages a day to about 50 billion.  Just to show how quickly everything can change in the world of technology, it all suddenly changed again yesterday.

New reports came in shortly after I wrote the article that the Rustock botnet, which has been responsible for as much as 48% of all global spam and which went suddenly and inexplicably silent in December has sprung back into life.

Overall, the level of spam sent worldwide is still down considerably on previous levels and there is still no apparent reason for this.

In an interview with the BBC, Alex Cox of NetWitness said "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."  This was the best guess anyone so far has been able to offer.

Rustock was expected to have sent out 67 billion spam emails yesterday, more than doubling the amount sent worldwide the day before.

While Rustock has restarted its activities, it is too soon to say, according to security experts, whether spam levels will again reach the volumes we saw back in August.

If anything, this shows that a single botnet can turn the tide and increase the amount of mails sent significantly. If you consider the possibility that larger bot networks are currently created or even operational, it is clear that spam can easily rise a lot in a short amount of time.

The opposite is true as well of course. If a botnet is taken down, spam may drop to all new lows for example.


Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. giedrius said on January 11, 2011 at 11:27 am

    The reason is actually quite simple:
    Russian Christmas ended last week.
    It was a holiday season worldwide, and in Russia (and in some other countries) it ends couple weeks later than in rest of the world.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.