Computer Crime Research Center


About 90 Percent of All Corporate Email is Spam

Date: January 28, 2009

spam or malware, security firm Panda Security reported Wednesday.

Panda's findings from its PandaLabs subsidiary were based on actual data that the company collected over 2008, and not a survey or other projection. Panda monitored 430 million email messages during the year using its TrustLayer Mail service, and found that 89.88 were spam, with an additional 1.11 percent containing actual malware.

A spokeswoman for Panda said that she was unable to report the number of companies Panda's research covered by post time.

But if the Panda numbers are accurate, however, then they indicate that even high-profile antispam operations have had almost no effect on the levels of spam. For example, in October 2008, the FTC broke up what Spamhaus called the largest spam gang in the world. In November, the spam level did drop – but by less than 1.7 percent. Throughout 2008, spam levels reached a low in January of 76.27 percent of all emails transmitted, but climbed to a high in April of 94.75 percent before finishing the year at under 90 percent.

The most popular spam topics were sexual enhancers and pharmaceuticals, which accounted for 20.5 percent and 32.25 percent of all spam, respectively. Fake brand-name goods represented over 16 percent of the total. Up-and-coming spam topics included mortgage offers and fake job offers.

Most spam was sent by zombie computers taken over by worms sent remotely. Compared to spam, Panda considered most email messages innocuous; between 0.87 and 3.08 percent of email contained actual malware during 2008.
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