Spam has risen by 40 percent in the last three months and now averages nearly 90 per cent of all email received.
The stats emerge from a survey of hundreds of millions of emails by messaging firm Email Systems.
Malware hidden within messages has slowed since November last year but Denial of Service (DoS) attacks seem to be on the rise. According to Email Systems one client received 12 million emails in January of which only 54,000 were legitimate.
"Its no longer just the multinationals that are on the receiving end," said Neil Hammerton, managing director of Email Systems. "Our latest figures reflect the sharp increase in both the amount of spam traffic and the percentage of spam traffic that has been distributed in the last quarter alone."
Hammerton also noted that spammers are increasingly savvy in their techniques.
"January is clearly a month when consumers are less motivated to purchase financial products or put money into dubious financial opportunities. Spammers seem to have adapted their output to reflect this, focussing instead on medically motivated and pornographic offers," he said.
Earlier this month SC reported the sharp increase in DoS attacks was due to increased use of directory harvest attacks. Attackers use false lists of email addresses that knock out servers trying to reject them.