Spam emails are at their lowest level for 12 years suggesting that Cyber criminals are looking at new ways to target victims, according to an article published in the UK’s Daily Telegraph.

Less than half of emails scanned last month by the security company Symantec were junk, the lowest position since 2003.

The company said that legal action again criminal networks that distribute spam had had an impact on cutting its frequency.

However the fall has continued with a rise in malware – hostile software designed to damage a computer – the company’s monthly threat report found. Ben Nahorney of Symantec said “This increase in activity lends more evidence to the idea that, with the continued drops in email-based malicious activities, attackers are simply moving to other areas of the threat landscape”.

Last month 49.7% of the billions of emails monitored by Symantec were spam messages.

The downward trend has continued since the report was compiled. Of the 25 billion messages monitored by the firm on Tuesday, only 46.4 were spam.

The drop was a result of action against botnets, networks of hijacked computers through which spam is often sent, the report said. British police officers have helped break seven such networks in the last 10 months.

European network providers have also joined together to share information, botnet activity to limit their effectiveness.

Symantec said other formerly popular scams, such as phishing for passwords and email with malware attached, also showed a decline in June. But it warned of a rise in the amount of malware being produced. Some 57.6 million pieces of malware were seen in June, almost double the level of April.