Symantec: 87% of emails were spam in 2009

By on December 15, 2009, 3:40 PM
According to a recent report by Symantec, a whopping 87.4% of this year's email messages were spam. That figure peaked in May, with spam accounting for 95% of all emails in the month. At its lowest, spam emails accounted for 73.8% of emails in early 2009 after the US ISP McColo was shut down in late 2008.

Celebrity spam attacks surged, thanks in part to the numerous high-profile deaths this year including Patrick Swayze, Natasha Richardson, and most of all, Michael Jackson. At its height, Jackson-related spam made up nearly 2% of all spam messages.

Symantec noted that image spam reemerged at levels not observed since early 2007, accounting for 22% of all spam email. Other 2009 highlights include an uptick in malicious attachments and the continued migration of spam to new mediums like blogs and social networks.

Symantec believes 2010 will be an active year for spammers, with botnets playing a significant role in distributing the junk. You can read the company's 17-page report here for a complete look at recent spam trends.

User Comments: 14

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treeski treeski said:

I guess I'm not surprised that the numbers are so ridiculously high. At the same time, I'm glad that e-mail is becoming less important to me, with many other alternatives becoming available.

Rapidhic said:

If facebook mails (add friend, group suggestion etc) are considered as spam then 87% its reasonable.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Sounds about right regarding me personally .

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Those figures are unreal. I know a couple of spam kings have been arrested and sentenced recently. They really need to track down on more of those cretins and put the smack down on them.

They're cluttering up the Internet and messing with my on-line gaming, dammit!

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

treeski said:

I guess I'm not surprised that the numbers are so ridiculously high. At the same time, I'm glad that e-mail is becoming less important to me, with many other alternatives becoming available.

It's only a matter of time until they switch to alternatives, I've already received a couple of spam text messages on my work cell phone.

Timonius Timonius said:

If governments want to seek frivolous things to ban/censor (ie. the Australia internet 'crackdown' by 2011) they should focus on spam. If they could start tracking spammers and fine them it could make a nice little cash grab for big brother. Probably won't happen (for various reasons), but one can dream.

Guest said:

Just wondering when some intelligent person is going to build a net bot that brings the symantic antivirus deffinions with it on a seek and destroy mission. It's time for proactivity regarding malware\spam. Clearly reactivity only drains money from your wallet.

Puiu Puiu said:

95% of all emails in may were spam. ^_^ I'm glad that i moved a few years ago from yahoo to gmail. no more spam problems

Serag said:

Not surprising...

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I believe it. Google mail and hotmail both seem to be doing a pretty good job of blocking spam for me though, so it hasn't been too much of a problem. I am sure they could put all that processing power to better use though if spam wasn't so much of an issue.

raybay said:

Now that Cell :Phones are no longer protected from unwanted calls in the USA, we are dealing with a new unwanted invasion. Business freedoms are out of control. Our staff has received over 100 unwanted, and costly, cell phone calls since the first of December, and that number will obviously go up.

We can block most spam nowadays using a number of free or purchased internet tools, but should we have to?

windmill007 said:

What we need is some way to prove a email is legit. I think Microsoft could start some free service .. starting with companies then it will trickle down to individuals. Kind of like internet explorer smart screen proves website is real.. Why is this so hard for someone to do??

provim said:

i put these numbers up against my company's spam filter. We came out pretty close at 81% of all email being spam! I wrote a post about it at [link]


ProSpam @ ProVim

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I can see that being about right. When I came into work today there was 7 spam messages and one order in our one email box. And that's about what it is every morning. And that is just one email account out of 4 we have.

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