News Analysis

Spam and virus rates flatten

Global rates of spam, viruses and phishing emails stagnated in the last month, according to a survey by email messaging specialist MessageLabs.

The company said month-by-month levels for all three email borne problems mostly remained static, with spam rates decreasing slightly, from affecting 66.6% of traffic in January to 60.6% in February. Virus infection fell from one in 41.7 emails to one in 44.1. Only phishing saw any increase but this was modest, rising from one in 395 to one in 335.

The company predicts that spam might rise in the short term, despite a marked and consistent decline since a peak in July 2004, when the company said 94.5% of the email traffic it monitored was made up of spam.

Meanwhile, the spam epidemic is spreading to the developing world. Nine out of 10 emails within India are now spam, compared with 76.7% in Hong Kong, 70% in Israel, and 64% in the US. Japan had the lowest spam rate of any country measured, at 23.5%.

Spam has been a nuisance for so long that its existence is now a given. Personal mailboxes are full of the stuff. Just one thought: if spam rates are still 60% in the US, and just 23.5% in Japan, just what are the Japanese successfully doing to control it?


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