Cybercriminals Are Back from the Holidays

Sue Marquette Poremba
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Tackling Outbound Spam

Far too many Internet service providers are relying on anti-spam software that was primarily designed to fight inbound, rather than outbound, spam.

I received an e-mail with this statement in the beginning, which I love: "Apparently cybercriminals take off for the holidays."


I have never thought about it before, but I guess everybody needs a vacation now and again.


The message came from Commtouch, that, like many other security companies, saw a drop in spam in the 4th quarter of 2010. But now, Commtouch reports, we're just barely into January and the spam levels are up again to "normal" levels.


In its Internet Threats Trend Report, Commtouch says that spammers are using old-fashioned methods to spread spam, like ASCII art and hidden fonts, which would explain why I've been seeing a lot of ASCII art floating around again. Next thing you know, we'll be back to MIDI files!


The holiday break apparently was quite an anomoly, because people seemed very surprised, as this article at ExpertReviews mentions:

As when the drop was reported, nobody is quite sure exactly what caused the drop in the first place. Rumours have taken in everything from a Christmas armistice to the botnet owners simply taking a break. However, no real reason has or is likely to emerge.

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