Reporter: Amber Allen

Spam levels seemed to have soared over the last few months. According to data Google released on July 1st, spam levels are up 53% from the first quarter of 2009. Why? Are spammers getting cleverer? Finding new tricks? Or just reviving old ways to throw you off?

These are common questions the world over. But, while spam levels are up 53% from 1st quarter 2009, they are up only 6% from 2nd Quarter of 2008. Why did levels decrease and what are some of the factors contributing to the increase?

In November of 2008, McColo Corp ., a Web-based hosting service from San Jose, who was responsible for roughly 75% of spam was taken offline by Security Fix and several Internet Service Providers. The dismantling of McColo resulted in a 70% drop in spam worldwide.

Unfortunately, this created a false sense of security and spam levels quickly picked up again and have been steadily rising. Google reports that within 4 months of the takedown, spam levels were back to pre-McColo levels, a trend which continued through June 4th, 2009, when 3FN , another large spam source, was “reported to have been dismantled.” This resulted in another 30% drop in spam.

Since this last drop, in less than a month, overzealous spammers have already bolstered those levels by 14%. So, while we all cheer when large spam networks are taken down, the reality is that they will soon be replaced by someone else.

So what are the recent trends in spam and what should you watch for? Well, in the words of Google: “unpredictability summarizes the overall trend as Q2’09 winds down and spammers test both new and ‘retro’ techniques.” From old-school “newsletter” formats and a resurgence of “image spam”,  the 2nd quarter of 2009 has been a challenge for ISPs.

Spam is not just annoying, it’s expensive. Spam takes a huge toll on ISPs in bandwidth, server space, and security. Ferris Research estimates that in 2009, the total cost of spam will be $130 billion worldwide and the Institute for the Study of Labor calculated that the average employee wastes two days a year dealing with spam.

So what does Cruzio Internet do to help keep spam out of your inbox?

Cruzio engineers are always looking at new techniques for preventing spam, and they are constantly making adjustments and upgrades to our filters to make it work better for you.

Cruzio blocks known spammer IPs before they reach our mail server by using the Spamhaus XBL-SBL and the Surriel PSBL blocklists.

If you are getting too much spam, you probably want to try tightening your spam filters. Learn how to do that:

Cruzio Spam & Junk Mail Help

Cruzio & Spam by The Editor

Spamtastic tidbits & links:

  • In general, companies like your ISP or Bank will never ask you for your password, they have them on file already. Spammers can make the emails look like they are from anyone they want. If you get an email “from” your bank, ISP, etc, asking for your password, DELETE! Or forward it to the establishment in question. You may forward spam emails asking for your password that appear to be from Cruzio to
  • Note that is not meant for general spam, just spam claiming to be from Cruzio Internet.
  • Links in spam, however harmless looking, or intriguing, could very likely send you to a page that will try to infest your computer with malicious software.
  • Spam bots phish for your email across the net so use a contact form or use this format myemail {at} Cruzio mail comes with 6 email addresses, so create a “throwaway” address to use online.
  • Spamhaus
  • Google Blog: Spam Trends Q2’09
  • Cruzio Spam & Junk Mail Help