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Spamming dips slightly -- at least for now

After years of suffering from spammers, I'm outraged at news from MessageLabs that the global ratio of spam in e-mail traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was only 70.1 percent, a decrease of 8.1 percent from the August figures..

What, are the spammers taking a rest now? After keeping me and zillions of other long-suffering computer users on the hop? Where is their work ethic? Sheez, the planet is going to a warm place on a handcart!

According to the MessageLabs Intelligence Report for September 2008 and the third quarter of this year, this decline is largely due to the demise of California-based internet service provider (ISP) Intercage on September 20. However, MessageLabs expects the usual burst of spams over the holiday season will make up the shortfall.

Ah, good, things will be back to normal. I feel better already. Too much optimism clogs up the arteries.

A little background here: MessageLabs has just been bought by Symantec, and Intercage, which has finally died, electronically speaking, is notorious in the Internet community for having offered hosting solutions to the cybercriminal group known as the Russian Business Network.

Reading on, I find that 0.76 percent of e-mail traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources contained viruses, down four percent from the August figure, and the percentage of e-mail borne malware that contained links to malicious sites fell 11.3 percent from August's figure to only 6.3 percent in September.

Scary stuff, but the bad guys are still on the job, with phishing attacks increasing by 16 percent over the August figures. Still, overall, phishing levels have been declining sharply since the begining of the year, according to MessageLabs, although you could'a fooled me, I keep getting phishing e-mails daily and have sworn off sushi as a consequence.

Ah, well, at least the gub'mint is taking things seriously, with Senator Patrick Leahy proposing some tough anti-cybercrime provisions in a bill awaiting the President's signature. I'll find out soon if the bill has passed and let you know.

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