Spam levels worldwide drop 70%Spam hosting organisation taken offline

15 November 2008

Screenshot of a spam filter button

Spam filters ensure junk email is sent to the junk folder

The amount of spam emails people across the globe receive dropped sharply earlier this week, according to a BBC report.

The fall in spam follows two US internet service providers calling time on web-hosting firm McColo following an investigation by the Washington Post newspaper.

McColo was identified by the Washington Post as the host of major organisations involved in spamming and junk emails, and was believed to be the base of machines responsible for roughly 75% of all spam/junk emails sent.

The Washington Post advised its two internet service providers (ISPs) in the USA, Global Crossing and Hurricane Electric, of its investigation into spamming caused by McColo, and the two internet service providers pulled the plug on the firm.

Spam levels reduced but not stopped

Anti-spamming firm Ironport says junk mail levels have dropped by 70% since the organisation responsible for the spamming was taken offline on 11 November.

However, experts warn that this reduction in spamming is a temporary reprieve, as the spam operations that were previously hosted at McColo will move to new junk email hosts. This means that, unfortunately, internet customers worldwide are likely to see their junk email levels back at previous levels before too long.

Cut your spam

Which? telecoms expert, Ceri Stanaway, says: ‘Spam is a notoriously difficult problem to eradicate, and everyone with an email account is vulnerable. Spam and junk emails are not only irritating, clogging up your computer with unwanted junk, but spam is a potential threat to online safety as it may contain viruses that can infect your computer.’

There are a number of things you can do to limit the amount of spam you receive – take a look at the Which? guide to online safety for more.
Some ISPs provide spam filtering, often at no extra charge. You can buy spam-blocking software, too, which works by applying rules to check the legitimacy of incoming mail. 

You can also read the Which? review of broadband for more on which broadband ISPs include anti-spam software as part of their packages, or if your ISP doesn’t have its own protection, find out which software provides the best protection against viruses and spam in the Which? review of security software.


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