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Global Spam Levels Not Affected By Rustock Shutdown

The sudden death of Rustock, one of the more famous spammy botnets, may not decrease the amount of spam sent globally in the long term according to Internet security outfit, Commtouch.

Avi Turiel (opens in new tab), a researcher for the company, wrote a post on the company's blog where he compared the global level of spam from the past week (10th to 17th of March) to what happened to the world of spam when McColo, an internet service provider that specialised in sending spam emails, was taken offline.

While the latter clearly shows that there has been a significant disruption in the amount of spam sent, the graph produced last week shows some that peaks have disappeared but not the background traffic.

Turiel notes that the sudden increases over specific days and less traffic on others are "fairly typical" and that there is no dramatic drop for average levels. There's a single massive spike on Wednesday which he attributes to Rustock being "cut off in mid attack".

He explains that Commtouch tracks spam traffic globally and that Rustock, while being one of the more infamous botnets, might not have been the most influential one before adding that botnet operators are now moving from centralised superstructure to larger groups of smaller botnets that are more resilient to disruption.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.