Kaspersky: Spam Hits a Five-Year Low

Sue Marquette Poremba

We’re settled enough into the new year that I think we can take a look back and see just what kind of year 2012 was in the world of security.

It was a busy year, to be sure, and one where security was making the front pages of the mainstream media. Anonymous and other hacktivist groups were busy taking down sites and causing havoc when they didn’t agree with the stand of a company or organization.

We saw the banking industry endure a steady stream of DDoS attacks. Congress has recognized the need for solid cybersecurity legislation but can’t agree on what that should entail. Android malware is up, and Apple has had to admit to vulnerabilities in its software.

Yes, I would say that 2012 may have been the year that cybersecurity really made its mark on mainstream society. We all have to be thinking about it now, especially as we bring our own devices into the workspace.

For that reason, I was surprised when I read a recent Kaspersky Lab report that found there was actually a decrease in one security-related area: spam. Spam, according to Kaspersky, has hit a five-year low, dropping 8 percent from 2011.

Why the huge change? According to Kaspersky:

The main reason behind the decrease in spam volume is the overall heightened level of anti-spam protection.  Spam filters are now in place on just about every email system, reducing the amount of spam reaching user inboxes to a minimum, making spam ineffective.

Kaspersky also noted that the spammers are moving to other methods, like inexpensive (and legal) advertising on websites and social media venues.

It’s not that spam has gone away, of course. Spear phishing has reached new levels of sophistication and the spammers are hitting us in areas where we might be most vulnerable (I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen a huge rise in the amount of spam I get telling me that a package delivery has been delayed – I get several of those emails every day).


But I think another reason for the decrease is that we have gotten smarter. It’s only taken two decades, but computer users today have a better understanding of what spam is and what it can do. Yes, spam filters are catching a lot of junk, but we aren’t falling for what gets through the spam filter, either, at least not the way we used to.

The decline of spam has to be considered a bright spot in a year where there weren’t too many bright spots on the security front.



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