Spam Levels Fall 50 Percent After Illegal Networks Smashed
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The Australian Federal Police have in part contributed to an International operation that that has seen global spam levels fall by almost 50%.Taking part in an operation that started in August 2010 the AFP has been working closely with several police forces including Scotland Yard and the FBI and a private security Company LastLine as well as various ISP’s, to hurt the networks behind the illegal online operations.

Research compiled by security firm Symantec show that the amount of junk e-mail messages flowing around the net has dropped 47% in three months. Kaspersky Labs had previously reported falls in September of spam of up to 81.1% of all e-mails following a joint operation by various police forces to cut out International spam.

The operation against individuals and organisations that was sending botnets and gathering illegal intelligence such as credit card details and personal banking details has seen several organisations shut down.

Yesterday the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and online security firm Symantec joined forces to promote consumer awareness of cybercrime with a new education program called BLK MKT (Black Market). On hand to support the cause were Stephen Conroy and Attorney-General Robert McClelland, who said that the Government was continuing to push for a “secure, resilient and trusted cyber environment”.


According to Symantec’s 2010 Norton Cybercrime Report, 65 percent of adults worldwide have already fallen victim to cybercrime, while in Australia the statistic is slightly higher, with 69 percent of adults affected.

According to police sources in Europe, one of the biggest successes of the joint operations was against the Pushdo or Cutwail botnet, which had been in operation since 2007 and was thought to be sending about 10% of global spam.

The BBC said that an international operation co-ordinated by the security firm LastLine managed to get 20 of the 30 servers controlled by the group shut down. The servers were turned off with the help of the internet service providers unwittingly found to be hosting them.
As a result, many of the “drone” PCs in the huge botnet used to send e-mail were cut off and no longer relayed the junk messages.

Millions of machines around the world including several in Australia are turned into spam-sending “botnets”.

Bredolab was another big botnet hit in October thanks to work by the hi-tech division of the national crime squad in the Netherlands. The arrest of an Armenian man thought to be the botnet’s controller led to the closure of the 143 servers linked to Bredolab.

At its height Bredolab was thought to involve up to 30 million computers around the world and be capable of sending 3.6 billion e-mails every day.