Here’s some good news you probably won’t hear every day: your inbox is going to have less spam.
How is this possible you ask?
On July 18, the New York Times announced that the world’s no. 3 botnet “Grum” has been terminated.
That’s right. Authorities shut down two Dutch servers, called “command and control” servers, which drastically weakened the botnet. Both CnC servers were responsible for feeding spam instructions to their zombies, however, since the servers were taken offline, zombies could not access new instructions, preventing them from sending more spam. The remaining servers were located in Panama and Russia.
The next day, the server in Panama became inactive after an ISP took action due to mounting pressure from the community. The bot herders immediately reacted by replacing the two Dutch servers with six new servers located in the Ukraine, making it increasingly difficult to shut it down. Information was quickly passed on to the appropriate people in the Ukraine and Russia and by 11AM PST on July 18, all six of the new Ukraine servers, and the original Russian server were effectively dead.
Grum was a 4-year-old botnet that accounted for 17.4% of worldwide spam traffic, making it the world’s third most active spam botnet. The demise of Grum was accomplished by the cohesive teamwork of security researchers. According to Atif Mushtaq, one of the researchers, the collaboration sends a strong message to all spammers:
“Stop sending us spam. We don’t need your cheap Viagra or fake Rolex. Do something else, work in a Subway or McDonald’s, or sell hotdogs, but don’t send us spam.”
What does this all mean for email users?
According to Mushtaq, now that Grum has been dismantled, 50% of worldwide spam is gone with it, a dramatic decrease. Grum spammers reportedly generated about 18 billion spam emails daily.
Additionally, according to a recent statistic before the takedown, Grum infected about 120,000 computers to generate spam every day. Immediately after Grum was destroyed, the number fell to 21,505. As of Thursday, the latest data found zero infected machines.
Has your inbox seen less spam the past few days?