One single web host was behind 75% of all email spam

Following an investigation by Brian Kreb at Washington Post that exposed the web hosting firm McColo as one of the main originator of spam on the Internet, the ISPs providing Internet access to the firm pulled the plug on them (effectively shutting them down).

The effect this had on the world’s spam levels was amazing. The amount of spam immediately dropped by between 66-75%, depending if you look at numbers from spam trackers IronPort (66%) or Spamcop (75%). A pretty amazing number no matter which one you pick.

100 spammers behind 80% of all spam

One really interesting thing about all of this is that if shutting down a single web host can cut the levels of spam to that degree, there can’t be all that many sources that send out spam in the first place. There are actually reports that indicate that about 80% of all spam is sent by just around 100 spammers.

Just a temporary setback for spammers

Sadly enough, the decline in spam after the shutdown of McColo is just temporary. According to Nilesh Bhandari at IronPort the “recovery” has already started as the spammers find other places to host their servers:

Bhandari said he expects the spam volume to recover to normal levels in about a week, as the spam operations that were previously hosted at McColo move to a new home.

“We’re seeing a slow recovery,” Bhandari. “We fully expect this to recover completely, and to go into the highest ever spam period during the upcoming holiday season.”

So, in just a week things may be back to normal. But for now, let’s enjoy this little break. 🙂


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