Inbox Insider: Spammers got sharper in 2009

Share this article:

At the end of this year, many marketers will look back and think about the growth of iPhone apps and the integration of e-mail with social media messages. But as legitimate marketers got more sophisticated and savvy in 2009, so too did spammers. Spam-filled inboxes make it tougher for e-mail marketers to get their messages through to consumers.

According to a report released by IT security vendor Symantec, spam levels rose 6.5% this year over 2008, with spam accounting for 87.7% of all e-mails sent, up from 81.2%.

More types of spam also emerged. Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence senior analyst at Symantec, said his company saw more than 21 million spam campaigns this year, more than twice the number it saw in 2008 and a 23% increase in malware variants year-over-year.

The biggest security threat that Symantec monitored this year was Conficker/Downadup, a worm that allows its creators to remotely install software onto botnets, or infected computers. Although the Conficker worm originated at the end of last year, its creators updated the malware on April 1, making it stronger and more able to get through filters. In addition, the attacks hijacked more machines than in years past, with potentially 6 million infected computers.

Like in years past, spammers took advantage of hot topics in 2009. In the first half of the year, the credit crisis generated many finance-related spam attacks. Valentine's Day, the H1N1 flu pandemic and the deaths of celebrities Michael Jackson and Patrick Swayze were also popular spam topics, as spammers preyed on consumer interest.

Share this article:

Sign up to our newsletters

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

More in Email Marketing

1-800-GOT-JUNK? Cleans Up Its Email Marketing

1-800-GOT-JUNK? Cleans Up Its Email Marketing

The junk removal company trashes the batch-and-blast method and focuses on customer loyalty.

News Byte: Exact Data Strikes a Blow for Clean Email Lists

News Byte: Exact Data Strikes a Blow for ...

The company partners with BriteVerify to offer automatic list cleaning to SMB clients.

Oh, Canada! Five Ways to Deal With the Canadian Anti-Spam Law

Oh, Canada! Five Ways to Deal With the ...

A veteran emailer from the North Country tells U.S. marketers how to navigate the new regulations taking effect on July 1.