Spam fell to less than 50 per cent of all email traffic last month, the lowest recorded figure in a decade.
The Symantec Intelligence report for June 2015 found that of the 704 billion emails sent, only 353 billion could be classified as spam.
Although that may still seem like a lot, the amount of spam has been steadily declining since 2010. Part of the reason is that network providers now act much faster to put a stop to spamming on a mass scale. Larger technology firms, in co-operation with police services, have also targeted high-profile botnets in an effort to shut them down.
More efficient filtering on the part of email service providers has also meant that less spam reaches your inbox. This limits the effectiveness of spam as a means of advertising and so makes it less of a lucrative proposition.
Spam emails can also be used for phishing purposes, but the Symantec report found that this too was decreasing, along with email-based malware. Although the findings are broadly positive, the reduction in one particular type of threat is likely to mean that attackers are simply switching to other methods.
“Phishing rates and email-based malware were also down this month,” the report states. “However, there were 57.6 million new malware variants created in June, up from 44.5 million pieces of malware created in May and 29.2 million in April. This increase in activity lends more evidence to the idea that, with the continued drops in email-based malicious activity, attackers are simply moving to other areas of the threat landscape.”
Specifically, the number of ransomware attacks increased in June, with more than 447,000 detected. This was the second month in a row to see an increase and crypto-ransomware attacks reached their highest levels since December 2014.