Research from email management specialist Email Systems predicts that the volume of mail swilling around the Internet will double within the next two months unless the rate of spam growth slows down.
The company says that spam levels have historically risen month on month - but since July 2006 the trend has considerably worsened, with spammers significantly changing tactics, which has resulted in the start of a sudden, exponential rise in volumes of traffic.
Since that time, Email Systems says that email traffic has grown by an astonishing 25 to 35 per cent, month on month, resulting in the overall quantity of email now being more than triple its level just four months ago.
Neil Hammerton, the firm's CEO, said that, with such an exponential rise in traffic since last July, large numbers of company email systems are now coming under tremendous stress.
"Winter 2005/06 was a frenzied period for spam and viruses, with viruses in particular accounting for more than half of all email traffic sent," he said.
"If that trend occurs again this year then the quantity of viruses distributed will be many times more than has ever been seen previously, simply due to the escalation in volume that has taken place in the last 12 months," he added.
Normally I take predictions of this nature with a pinch of salt, but I have to say the volume of spam on my own email system has gone through the roof this past few months, with spam accounting for around 70 per cent of my inbound email.
The solution? Well, at present, I'm using Cloudmark's spam information pooling system, but this still means all the rubbish ends up on my server/PCs, rather than being intercepted before it comes down from t'Net.
I suspect that the future of anti-spam lies in a network-based system such as that offered by MessageLabs and others, and I expect to see more and more ISPs offering such services...