Spam and phishing volumes down in January

According to Symantec, this was largely due to the shutdown of the Rustock botnet, which affected volumes during the first 10 days of the year.

The report also notes that decreases were seen across nearly all sectors of phishing. Phishing websites created by automated toolkits decreased by approximately 39%, whilst unique URLs decreased by 1%.

Interestingly, Symantec reports that phishing websites with IP (numeric) domains decreased by a hefty 49%.

The report also found that the shutting down of internet access in Egypt from 27th January eliminated virtually all spam originating from that country for the rest of the month.

The report reveals that the shutdown of the internet also shut out spammers in Egypt.

Specifically, says the analysis, the global spam volume, which has been a discussion topic for several months, appears to have finally stopped its decline.

"Whilst the month-over-month figures were still down in January, the uptick observed in early January looks to become a permanent fixture of the spam landscape. We expect to see a first month-over-month increase in spam volume in February, which will be a first since August 2010", says the report.

The report goes on to say that one of the predictions for 2011 was that the spam volume will rise, but at much slower pace compared to post-McColo shutdown.

That prediction, says Symantec, is holding true so far, even though it is still very early in the year.

The report concludes that, in order to protect their IT assets, businesses should unsubscribe from legitimate mailings that they no longer want to receive.

"When signing up to receive mail, verify what additional items you are opting into at the same time. De-select items you do not want to receive", suggests Symantec.

Firms should also avoid publishing your email address on the internet and consider alternate options, such as using a separate address when signing up for mailing lists, getting multiple addresses for multiple purposes, or looking into disposable address services.

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