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US dropped as spam source in 2010, says Kaspersky

At the same time, the quantity of malware in email traffic grew in 2010, with malicious files found in 2.2% of all emails, 2.6 times more than in 2009. At the peak of the malware attacks in August, the percentage of emails with malicious content reached 6.29%, the report found.

Kaspersky attributed the decline in spam volume to closing down a number of spam botnets in 2010, including Waledac, Pushdo/Cutwail, Lethic, and Bredolab. The closing of 20 Pushdo/Cutwail and 143 Bredolab botnet command centers put a major crimp in the spammers efforts.

Unfortunately, spammers are moving their operations to countries with fewer legal restrictions on spam, mostly in Eastern Europe. Despite this move and the decline in US spam volume, the United States still led the way as the leading distributor of spam. accounting for 11.3% worldwide in 2010, followed by India with 8.3% and Russia with 6.0%, according to Kaspersky Lab.

Pharmaceutical spammers took a hit in September with the closure of the SpamIt partner program, which spammers used to make money offering bogus drugs.

“In the future, we expect to see a continuation in sophisticated attacks combining phishing, spammer and social engineering techniques. Cybercriminals will become more cautious, employing security software and locating their botnets in countries which are less hostile to cybercrime”, said Darya Gudkova, head of content analysis and research at Kaspersky Lab.

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