Symantec says botnets produce 88% of spam

Darren Allan

September 30, 2009

According to a report published yesterday by Symantec’s MessageLabs, botnets are now responsible for sending 87.9% of spam.

One of the most prolific offenders is the botnet Rustock, which has experienced something of a recent upsurge in activity. It is responsible for 10% of spam by itself – so now you have a name to curse when you receive those emails about Rolex watches and Viagra.

Strangely enough, MessageLabs reports that Rustock is the only botnet that rests, taking an eight hour break from spamming each day. Even botnets, or some of them, need their sleep it would seem.

The newest cad on the botnet block is Maazben, which emerged in May and has witnessed a rapid expansion since, busying itself sending out mainly casino related spam.

“Over the past year, we have seen a number of ISP’s taken offline for hosting botnet activity resulting in a case of sink or swim and an ensuing shift in botnet power,” said Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst, Symantec.

“This has undermined the power of the more dominant botnets like Cutwail and cleared the way for new botnets like Maazben to emerge.”

We’re still waiting for someone to engineer a botnet called Ni, which sends out spam, spam and spam related spam.


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