Seven in ten emails sent in Sweden are spam

Despite fresh figures showing that more than 70 percent of all emails sent in Sweden in June were spam, experts say that this is the lowest level circulated worldwide since 2008.

Seven in ten emails sent in Sweden are spam

“In June, 72 percent of emails sent in Sweden were spam compared to 87 percent for the same period last year,” analyst Paul Wood from the internet security company Symantec told news agency TT.

According to the company, the reason for the decrease in the amount of spam hitting our inboxes is the shut down of a major spam-sending botnet called Rustock in March.

A botnet is a collection of compromised computers, referred to as bots, making up a network.

The spam they generate looks like it is sent from ordinary people, either through a fake or hijacked account. However, when the recipient opens the email it turns out to be an advertisement.

After the shutdown of Rustock, spam levels have dropped significantly, which can be compared to figures from 2008, following a similar bust of another large botnet.

The most common spam circulating at the moment are pharmaceutical adverts, which accounted for 40 percent of all spam in June.

Spammers try to get recipients to buy their products by alluding to brand names or riding the waves of well-known internet phenomena. One such is the newly established Wikipharmacy, which offers “Viagra” for both men and women at a cheaper price than in real pharmacies.

“Spammers often like to sell fake products. They trick customers through using a brand that is familiar and adding internet concepts like Wiki”, said Wood to TT.

Spam accounted for 72.9 percent of emails sent across the globe in June, returning to the same figure as April earlier this year.

Worldwide 39.2 billion spam emails were sent in June this year, compared to the 121.5 billion were in circulation in June 2010, according to the Symantec’s annual intelligence report.

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Swedish spy brothers go on trial in ‘unique’ Russia case

Two Swedish brothers, one a former intelligence official, went on trial in Stockholm on Friday accused of "aggravated espionage" for allegedly spying for Russia's GRU military intelligence service between 2011 and 2021.

Swedish spy brothers go on trial in 'unique' Russia case

“This case is unique in many ways… We haven’t had a trial like this in more than 20 years”, prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist told court in his opening statement.

He said the information obtained, transmitted and divulged was “extremely sensitive material”. His co-prosecutor Per Lindqvist said it could be “detrimental to Sweden’s national security”.

READ ALSO: Swedish brothers charged with spying for Russia

Defendants Payam and Peyman Kia risk life sentences if found guilty. Most of the trial will be held behind closed doors.

“The court will have insight into material that very few in this country have seen or have access to,” Ljungqvist said.

A court sketch of the trial showing Peyman Kia and his lawyer to the left, and Payam Kia and his lawyer in the middle. Photo: Anders Humlebo/TT

On Friday, prosecutors made brief introductory statements before the judge ordered reporters out of the courtroom.

Payam Kia is aged 35 and his brother 42, according to the charge sheet. They are of Iranian origin, according to Swedish media reports.

Peyman Kia, who appeared calm in court dressed in a dark suit and tie, has served in Sweden’s intelligence service Sapo and intelligence units in the Swedish army.

According to Sweden’s newspaper of reference, Dagens Nyheter, he at one point worked for the Office for Special Information Gathering (KSI), the most secret section of the military secret service.

He is accused of illegally acquiring information during his employment with Sapo and the armed forces.

Payam Kia is accused of “participating in the planning of the deed and handling contacts with Russia and the GRU, including the handover of information and receiving compensation”.

Bearded and dressed in the Swedish jail system’s green overalls, he hid his face as he entered the courtroom with his lawyer. Lawyers for the pair have been tight-lipped about the case. They told court on Friday that their clients denied the charges.

The prosecutors requested that much of the material in the case be classified even after the end of the trial, due to its sensitive nature.

The names of several witnesses, including those working for the Swedish military and security police and who have access to vast amounts of classified information, will also be kept secret.

The case is expected to continue until December 12.