Spam from Egypt vanishes after cutting off internet access

Egypt map with no email symbolIf there is any doubt as to how tightly internet communications have been restricted in Egypt, SophosLabs has produced some interesting statistics. In the process of analyzing spam, one of our Vancouver researchers noticed that spam originating from Egypt had nearly vanished.

While there have been reports that Egypt had cut off internet services completely, there were conflicting reports suggesting that one ISP that accounts for approximately 8% of Egyptian users was still online to some degree.

According to our statistics, the amount of spam received from Egypt in the last two days has dropped by 85%. While I’m not advocating this as a method to stop the spam problem, it seems to confirm media reports of the extent to which internet access is currently available (or unavailable, as it were) to the Egyptian people.

Chart of spam originating from Egypt January, 2011

While you may have a lower chance of receiving an email proclaiming you’ve won the Cairo lottery, this won’t have any significant impact on the volume of spam that gets to your mailbox.

The real point is these numbers demonstrate the availability of electronic communications to Egyptians and may be an indicator of their ability to organize and stay in touch with the outside world.

We will continue to monitor these statistics and post on Naked Security if we see any indications that normal internet access is returning.

To learn more about the countries that are responsible for your inbox being full read our latest Dirty Dozen spammers report for Q4 2010.

Update: As has been reported, it appears that Egypt has reconnected to the internet on February 2nd, 2011. We are seeing spambot activity returning to normal levels.
Spam traffic from Egypt 2-Feb-2011