The spam problem was mostly solved last Tuesday

* Spam volumes dropped dramatically on Nov. 11 as a result of McColo being taken offline

Well, not really. But spam volumes dropped dramatically on Nov. 11 as a result of McColo being taken offline by its two primary ISPs, Hurricane Electric and Global Crossing. IronPort, for example, reported that monthly spam volumes in September and October averaged 190 billion messages per day worldwide. On Nov. 11, there were 153 billion spams sent, although this included the sudden dropoff at 1:30 p.m. Pacific as McColo was taken offline. On Nov. 13, worldwide spam volume was 64.1 billion messages.

Well, not really. But spam volumes dropped dramatically on Nov. 11 as a result of McColo being taken offline by its two primary ISPs, Hurricane Electric and Global Crossing. IronPort, for example, reported that monthly spam volumes in September and October averaged 190 billion messages per day worldwide. On Nov. 11, there were 153 billion spams sent, although this included the sudden drop-off at 1:30 p.m. Pacific as McColo was taken offline. On Nov. 13, worldwide spam volume was 64.1 billion messages.

McColo - which is based in San Jose, but much of whose management is located in Russia and Eastern Europe - was reportedly a major hosting service for spammers, botnet operators and others in the spam industry.

The sudden drop in spam is a major benefit for all of us who receive this content, everyone who has to process it, the networks that must carry it, etc. While I don’t want to throw cold water on the good news of our sudden good fortune, I believe that the precipitous drop in spam will be short-lived for two reasons. First, industry experts believe that spam volumes will return by the holidays and I agree with them. Because the amount of spam sent is proportional to the revenue earned by spammers, senders of this content need to send out x volume of spam to achieve y return. One-half x equals one-half y and that just won’t be acceptable to the spamming industry, particularly as we enter the Christmas season – an important time of year for spammers.

Second, I believe that this development will be treated by spammers like a natural disaster would be by IT decision makers. In other words, I suspect that there will be more redundancy built into spamming networks. Spammers will definitely learn from this and build disaster recovery and business continuity into their networks in order to survive a similar takedown in the future. This might take several months to accomplish, but I believe it will happen.

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