Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spammers survive botnet shutdowns: CSE in BBC

Computer science Stefan Savage is quoted in a BBC story about how work to shut down spam networks has not reduced spam levels. A bit of the BBC spam story is below.
(The cover story of the last issue of Pulse features two grad students who work on cybersecurity in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego.)
Hi-tech criminals persist with spam despite evidence that response rates are plummeting. Only 28 responses were recorded from a spam campaign of 350 million e-mails found a study carried out by Professor Stefan Savage and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego.

Of those 350 million, only 23.8% made it through spam filters to e-mail inboxes and resulted in more than 10,000 visits to site peddling cheap pills.

Professor Savage said it was difficult to draw conclusions based on its limited data but said even with response rates of 0.00001%, the most prolific spammers could potentially make millions of dollars per year.