Spam volume makes a comeback after holiday hiatus

From the “Hate to Say I Told You So” department…

As they say, all things come to an end and, as expected, the unusual lull in spamming activity between Christmas and the new year seems to have come to an end early today.

As if spam has returned to work from a long holiday break, volumes have been sharply rising to levels similar to those observed before the 12/25/10 “vacation.”

Hourly spam volume has roughly doubled from the spam baseline observed over the holidays and is also back to showing the usual “spikey” behavior we see from spam campaigns. My friends over in the Proofpoint Attack Response Center confirm with me that this is “a resumption of previously seen traffic patterns.” There’s roughly 3 times the amount of messages hitting that account today as last week.

The messages here still seem pretty heavy on pharma spam, but there are a few items that are possible phish, also a larger number of Asian language messages.

Not too much else to say about this right now except that it really does look like one (or maybe several) of the top spam senders took a holiday vacation and are now back at it in the second week of the new year.

While other botnets may have taken a hiatus as well, it does seem that the Rustock botnet is back to its spam-sending ways (as reported by The Guardian).

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Keith Crosley directs corporate communications for Proofpoint. Keith’s job entails the promotion of Proofpoint e-mail security solutions to press, analysts and the enterprise e-mail security market at large. His blog covers a wide variety of e-mail security topics including anti-spam, phishing, identity theft, data breaches and the policy, culture and technology issues that surround e-mail. Previous positions have included director, corporate communications at Elance, senior director, worldwide public relations at BroadVision and director of marketing at As a key spokesperson for Proofpoint and e-mail security evangelist/researcher, he takes part in television and radio appearances. Avocationally and semi-professionally, he is a filmmaker, musician and all-round multimedia enthusiast.