US extends its lead as a top spammer

India bags the 2nd spot in the 'Dirty Dozen' of spam-relaying countries

Bangalore: IT security and control firm Sophos has published its latest report into the top twelve spam relaying countries, covering the second quarter of 2010. The USA continues to be the number one spam polluter, piping out 15.2% of all global spam messages, an increase from 13.1% in the first quarter of 2010.

The UK, a nation that last year fell out of the spam hall of shame - also saw a significant rise in the proportion of spam it relayed. With a total output of 4.6% of the world's spam, this puts the UK in fourth place overall compared with ninth earlier this year.

The top spam relaying countries for April to June 2010 are as follows

  1. USA (15.2%)
  2. India (7.7%)
  3. Brazil (5.5%)
  4. UK (4.6%)
  5. S Korea (4.2%)

Europe has leapfrogged over Asia to become the most prolific continent for spamming. Although the USA continues to be the top spam-relaying country, North America remains in third place by continent, a long way behind Asia and Europe.

"Spam will continue to be a global problem for as long as it makes money for the spammers. It makes commercial sense for the criminals to continue if even a tiny proportion of recipients clicks on the links," explained Cluley. "Too many computer users are risking a malware infection that sees their computer recruited into a spam botnet. To combat the spammers, it's not only essential for computer users to run up-to-date security software, they must also resist the urge to purchase products advertised by spam."

Spam emails make up 97% of all emails received by business email servers, both putting a strain on network resources and wasting a huge amount of time to lost productivity. Used largely as a method for selling counterfeit or illicit goods, virtually all spam comes from malware infected computers (known as bots or zombies) that are controlled by 'botherder' cybercriminals.

Computer users can unwittingly allow their PCs to become part of a botnet in a number of ways, including clicking on malicious links that are frequently contained within the spam messages that the botnets are used to distribute. The best way for users and administrators to reduce the risk of being compromised is to run anti-spam and anti-malware protections, behave sensibly when online, and ensure their systems are up-to-date with security patches.

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