The future of spam: 2010 and beyond

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The economics behind spam dictate that 2010 will be another active year for spammers.

The distribution of spam emails is set to continue as long as distribution channels remain relatively cheap, botnets continue to be active and shift locations, and spammers develop new and innovative ways to attempt to bypass anti-spam filtering.

The specific predictions have been outlined by Symantec in their latest spam report:

1. Distribution networks are becoming more dynamic as additional broadband connected targets are coming online every day. Distribution paths are also getting more complicated with spammers now sending messages directly from infected machines, routing through compromised relays and continuing to use webmail/SMTP Auth abuse.

2. Botnets are also set to continue jockeying for position as botnets which were previously dominant are undermined by the actions of new more sophisticated botnets. The number of botnets is set to grow as hackers target developing IT infrastructures in certain regions.

3. In an attempt to evade anti-spam filters through obfuscation and hijacking the reputation of legitimate websites, spammers are set to continue using tactics such as URL shortening and using freeweb hosting servers, damaging the reputation of some services until they go out of business.

4. Spammers are set to continue the progress of blending where they utilize spam to tempt an end user into buying a product or service, to more mischievous and even dangerous practices such as phishing where a spammer tries to steal a users identity and computer resources to obtain money or add to the strength of bot networks by compromising PCs.

To get a picture of what happened in the world of spam in 2009, read our recap here.