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A Dispatch

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December 31, 2010

Spam (Mini) Trends

In the past few months, one or more spam-generating botnets have been taken offline. But only in the last couple of weeks have I noticed anything truly different in the spam arriving at my main domain.

For the past two weeks, dictionary attacks have dropped off substantially. They had been so numerous that I had to adjust my spam statistics graph to count them by the thousands, compared to the ones for regular spam and other activity. Dictionary attacks had been averaging roughly 25,000 to 30,000 per day, but are now down to less than ten percent of that.

I don't know the specific source of the dictionary attacks that came my way for years, but it wouldn't surprise me if the bulk of them originated from one botnet source. Someone, somewhere had to be paying for the tens of thousands of messages that my server rejected every day. And mine is just one among millions of email servers rejecting this junk. I figured that eventually the economics would flow in my favor.

One thing I know for certain: No short-term trend in spam is guaranteed to be permanent. Perhaps the machine will crank up again with the beginning of the New Year. But I'll hope that it doesn't, indicating that one small part of the spam economy has finally collapsed under its own weight. That will be my toast to welcome 2011.

Posted on December 31, 2010 at 11:22 AM