Spam volume down, but more malicious

The overall volume of unsolicited email surprisingly fell in 2014, but what there is is far more malicious according to Proofpoint's Worldwide Cyber Security research.

Other findings include a higher proportion of unsolicited emails containing malicious URLs at 10 percent in 2014 with spikes where the percentage of malicious URLs in unsolicited emails exceeded 40 percent.

However, measure numbers alone, the daily volume of unsolicited messages dropped by 56 percent in 2014, falling significantly after the GameoverZeus (June) and Kelihos botnet takedowns.

Last year also saw China overtake the EU, Russia and the United States to become the leading source of unsolicited email. Proofpoint says this source shift appears to reflect a change in attacker strategy to distribute their networks more broadly and look beyond the US for a more reliable supply of unpatched and vulnerable computers to compromise.