Valentine Spam Part of a Junk-mail Resurgence

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It's a time for romance, for Cupid's arrow, and perhaps a male enhancement drug from a fake online pharmacy.

Valentine's day spam and scams are showing up in inboxes in anticipation of the upcoming holiday. The messages, with timely sales pitches like "Increase your length, the best valentine's gift," join a flood of other crap mail that has spam levels back up to where they were prior to the McColo shutdown success in November.

In addition to listing other eye-rolling Valentine's spam subjects like "Great watches for your Valentine," Symantec's State of Spam report for the month (pdf) adds to evidence that, as expected, junkmail spreaders have found other ways to spread their spam after McColo, a company that provided Internet homes for many spam spreaders, was cut off. It was a major victory, but one all the experts predicted would be short-lived.

Sadly, the experts were right. According to Symantec's report, spam levels are back up to around 79 percent of all e-mail, just about the levels prior to the McColo takedown.

But that doesn't detract from the major, and relatively rare, victory against the spammer infrastructure. And according to a story from Brian Krebs at Security Fix, the Washing Post writer who was instrumental in getting McColo nailed, there's potential for other wins.

Krebs covers work done by a group called Knujon that shows how most of the Web sites advertised by all this junk mail are registered with only a small handful of domain name registrars (out of 900 or so total, Krebs writes). His post doesn't explicitly come out and say so, but I'd say identifying outfits central to helping spammers is the first step towards cleaning up - or shutting down - those outfits and perhaps scoring another victory against Internet crime. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.

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