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MessageLabs: Spam Up Dramatically In May

MessageLabs announced on Wednesday that in May its data indicate that the volume of spam e-mails continued its rocket ship ride, reaching an all-time high for a single month. The good news that came with that announcement is that the number of virus-carrying e-mails remained constant.

The company provides managed e-mail security services to companies around the globe, using its Skeptic predictive heuristics technology. The company's Intelligence division provides statistics and analyses of e-mail patterns on a regular basis, using data gleened from its network of so-called control towers as they scan millions of e-mails each day while servicing the anti-spam needs of some 8,500 enterprise customers.

In May MessageLabs Intelligence indicates that of the 909 million inbound e-mails scanned by the company, 691 million of them, or 76%, were intercepted as spam. Virus-carrying e-mails accounted for 9.1%, or 92.6 million of the scanned e-mails. On average, MessageLabs trapped 258 spam messages and 35 virus carriers each second during the month. By contrast, MessageLabs recorded a spam ratio of 67% in April.

Chief Technology Officer Mark Sunner points out that viruses have been with us for a while, and that spam is a relatively new problem, but that spam, "now far surpasses the number of virus-infected e-mails." His analysis shows that the growth pattern of spam is on a constant upward path while virus transmissions remain relatively constant. "The exception is when volumes spike during major outbreaks such as MyDoom, or when virus wars break out between the authors."