Jan. 25, 2013 at 8:59 PM ET
A new report from Kaspersky Lab indicates that the amount of spam in the world continues to decline, although it's nowhere near disappearing. It's also being replaced with other, more substantial threats.
Spam levels dropped throughout 2012, and by the end of the year it was steadily below 70 percent of all email detected. In the heyday of spam, it consistently made up around 85 percent, according to Kaspersky's numbers.
A number of factors have contributed to this. People and email providers have instituted more effective spam filters, for one thing, and a major security hole that allowed people to spoof an email's sender was closed this year.
The reduced effectiveness of spam emails means spammers have to send more to get any hits. Kaspersky calculates that it cost spammers $150 for every million emails sent — cheap indeed, but the success rate is so low that legal, normal advertising on Google and Facebook actually end up beinga better deal.
Of course, not every spammer is just aiming for cheap advertising. There are plenty selling illegal services or products, or looking to hijack your computer with malicious attachments or phishing attempts. Since legal advertisement isn't an option, they're doubling down on spam. For that reason, Kaspersky suggests spam reduction in 2013 will be "negligible at best."
The full, detailed report, with many more details about the origins and types of 2012's spam, can be read here.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBCNews Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.