Microsoft: 3% of e-mail is stuff we want; the rest is spam

Spam makes up close to 100 percent of all e-mail traffic on the Internet, according to Microsoft. In a new security report, Microsoft said that 97 percent of e-mails sent were destined for the junk folder, though most never made it to their destinations thanks to server-side filtering.

As usual, the latest waves of spam are rife with advertisements for pharmaceutical products (48.6 percent of the total). Microsoft noted that a larger percentage of spam was blocked by its own Exchange Hosted Filtering (EHF) services in the second half of 2008 for most categories, with some 40 percent of “non-sexual” pharmacy spam being blocked (apparently, sexual pharmacy spam figured out how to get around EHF filters during that time—Microsoft recorded a drop in blocked e-mails from this category).

While our inboxes sometimes feel flooded with spam, Microsoft’s numbers are higher than those from other firms. MessageLabs Intelligence recently said that spam had spiked in February (thanks to Valentine’s Day-related messages), accounting for 79.5 percent of all e-mail traffic before settling down to an average of 73.3 percent for the month as a whole. This was lower than the 74.6 percent recorded in January. At the same time, however, MessageLabs noted that large botnets were beginning to increase spam volume since the McColo shutdown last November, which temporarily lowered spam volume.

Symantec’s latest State of Spam report (PDF) released today seems to corroborate the trend. “Since the shutdown of hosting company McColo in mid-November 2008, spam volumes have slowly made their way back to ‘normal,'” wrote Symantec. “Old botnets are being brought back online, and new botnets are being created. Spam volumes are now at 91 percent of their pre-McColo shutdown levels.”

via Microsoft: 3% of e-mail is stuff we want; the rest is spam – Ars Technica.

About The Author

Jamie is a co-founder and senior editor at Technigrated, covering all facets of the tech industry. In addition to working at Technigrated, Jamie is a Founding Partner of NBR Design Studio, a graphic and web design and hosting firm headquartered in Bethany Beach, DE.

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