UK spam doubles despite global decline


Spam levels rose by almost 100 per cent in the UK last year, even though global volumes dropped for the first time ever.

Other developed countries saw notable rises in spam, with France posting a whopping 115 per cent increase over 2009, a Cisco report has shown.

In Brazil, China and Turkey, which were all ranked high up on last year's list of spammed nations, posted significantly lower volumes in 2010.

Cisco put the fall in spam levels in 2010, the first ever year a decline has been seen since records began, down to some high-profile botnet takedowns, including those of Waledac and Cutwail.

Spam levels dropped significantly over the Christmas period, when mega-botnets such as Rustock simply stopped sending out irritating messages.

Security researchers were at a loss to explain why these botnets stopped spamming, but levels look set to return to normal as the malicious networks have started up again.

Spreading the net

The Cisco report also noted how scammers have spread their wings, moving over to mobile devices and emerging operating systems.

"Everyone knows the joke about the two hikers and the hungry bear in which the swifter hiker explains his footrace is not against the bear but the other hiker," said Patrick Peterson, fellow at Cisco.

"The cyber criminal bears have been feasting on the "slowest hiker" Windows platform for the last decade. But with increased security in the Windows operating system and applications, the bears are looking elsewhere to satisfy their hunger."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.