The beginnings of an "e-mail meltdown" could be on the way, thanks to predictions of a massive spam spike. That's the word from SpamHaus, an anti-spam organisation which compiles blacklists blocking eight billion messages a day. They believe that a new piece of malware has been created that takes over a PC and then uses it to send spam via the mail server of that PC's Internet service provider. This has the rather nasty effect of making it appear that the spam originates in fact from the ISP. And that makes it very hard to deal with and block.

"The Trojan is able to order proxies to send spam upstream to the ISP," said Steve Linford, director of SpamHaus.

Linford believes that this Trojan was written by the same people who write spamming software.

Reports suggest that ISPs in the US have already been hit. "We've seen a surge in spam coming from major ISPs. Now all of the ISPs are having large amounts of spam going out from their mail servers," said Linford.