Goodbye, junk email! Malware responsible for large part of world’s spam taken out

A computer screen inbox displaying unsolicited spam emails. (AFP Photo/Mike Clarke)If your inbox consists solely of emails from Nigerian princes asking for your bank account, or an office overseas telling you about your inheritance from a "long lost relative," your email may be a little more sparse this week.

A computer security company based in California says that they've eliminated a piece of malware responsible 17 per cent of the world's spam.

According to a CBC report, servers that were deploying the Grum botnet had been disabled after several days of trying to pinpoint their location. They nabbed servers in Panama and Russia, but others in Ukraine and the Netherlands had taken their place before they, too, were disabled.

Shutting down the botnet took the efforts of researchers in the U.S., Britain and Russia. It had been active as far back as 2008, according to security researcher Atif Mushatq of FireEye security, the firm that spearheaded the effort to shut down the malware.

"All the known command and control servers are dead, leaving their zombies orphaned," said Mushtaq on his blog via an AFP story.

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In January, Grum botnet was responsible for an estimated 33.3 per cent of spam worldwide. Recently, that number had dropped to only 17 per cent. Once the spam template has expired on the approximately 120,000 infected 'zombie' computers, that number should drop to significantly less.

Now that the world's third most active spambot has been knocked out, researchers are continuing their efforts to eliminate the two largest: Cutwail and Lethic.