Botnets cause surge in February spam2010.03.02 12:05 by Daniela
Keywords: botnets, spam, malware, Grum, Rustock
Spam now accounts for close to 90 percent of all e-mail worldwide due to a surge in February, according to Symantec.
Two botnets named Grum and Rustock helped push spam levels up 5.5 percent in February over the prior month, according to the security firm's report (PDF). After doing business as usual over the past year, Grum suddenly sprang to life in February, increasing the amount of spam it generated by 51 percent. As a result, the botnet is now to blame for 26 percent of all global spam.
Rustock also surged last month, pushing up global spam levels by 25 percent on February 17 to the highest level for the entire month. The rise of both botnets were traced to activity related to Canadian pharmaceutical spam, Symantec said. One of the hottest scams on the Internet, pharmaceutical spam now is responsible for 65 percent of all worldwide spam.
"Whether the spammers are trying to clear this spam run more quickly or have discovered that it is successful, they have certainly been using multiple botnets to distribute high-volume spam campaigns in February," Symantec MessageLabs Intelligence senior analyst Paul Wood said Monday in a statement. "The activities of this single spam operation have been driving recent global surges in spam rates and strongly impacting global spam levels in turn. Based on these latest spam patterns, we can predict additional surges in spam in the coming weeks."
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