Kapersky Lab has released new research showing that spam his in strong decline. At the ends of 2012 it had fallen 8.2% from the end of 2011, down to 72.1% of email volume.
Still feels ridiculous to think that more than 70% of email traffic is parasitic advertising at the best and dangerous malware at the worst.
One major contribution is spam filtering, which has become nearly ubiquitous. And spam detection works very well, finding as much as 98% of all spam. Kapersky’s Darya Gudkova points to one of the major factors contributing to this decline is DKIM (DomainKeys Identitifed Mail):
Many email providers have introduced mandatory DKIM signature policies (digital signatures that verify the domain from which emails are sent). DKIM first entered the scene back in 2006, but it was rather slow to make a name for itself. It has only been in the last couple of years that email providers have started to see DKIM as an important criterion for determining whether or not an email should be delivered to its intended recipient. In response, malicious users started to generate fake DKIM signatures. This was possible since many companies used an algorithm to encrypt their signatures that by 2012 was relatively easy to hack.
However, in 2012 Wired magazine published an article describing the problems associated with un-encrypted DKIM signatures. After this article came out, many major companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft changed their signature encryption methods, opting to replace 512-bit keys with more modern 1024- or 2048-bit keys. This change made fakes impossible (at least based on current computing capabilities). As a result of the actions taken to reinforce anti-spam protection, the amount of spam emails reaching user inboxes was cut to a minimum. This makes spam very ineffective, prompting spam clients to start migrating to other platforms. This in turn has led to a decline in the volume of spam in email traffic.
Also, Kapersky estimates that for the first time legal advertising alternatives — like clickable text ads and coupons — have become less costly and more effective than advertising through spam. Given that, we should see a continued drop in spam.
The bad news is that malicious email attachments are dropping less quickly than spam as a whole, now found on 3.4% of all email.
It’s still easy to hate email.