What has the project learned from its spam-trapping endeavors? Here are a few interesting (and often appalling) data points:
- For every piece of spam identified, the project estimates that spammers send another 125,000 messages to real victims. That adds up to a staggering 125 trillion spam messages sent since 2004.
- Based on a ratio of "bot" machines to security professionals, the project is able to rank countries with the best IT security (Finland, Canada, and Belgium top the list) and the worst (China, Azerbaijan, and South Korea win the prize).
- Across the board, active spam bots -- the primary tool for sending spam -- have nearly quadrupled in number each year.
- As it turns out, even spammers like to take an occasional break: The volume of spam delivered drops markedly on both Christmas Day and New year's Day.
Check out the above link for plenty of other interesting facts and figures -- including the disturbing rise of so-called "comment spam" on blogs and discussion forums.
Project Honey Pot isn't necessarily the primary line of defense against these virtual barbarians. Unfortunately, it is still up to individual IT administrators (and the security products they choose) to handle that task.
Yet the project's work is important, and it depends entirely upon a community of member Web sites who contribute vital spam data. The process of getting a grip on the spam problem is largely a game of numbers; the more data the project is able to gather, the better it is at analyzing data and enabling security professionals to deploy effective countermeasures.
Go here for more information about Project Honey Pot, including how to become a member. It's free, relatively easy to do, and involves no risk or additional load on your company's network.