China drops out of spam 'dirty dozen'; US, India top spammers
Posted in: Spam at 29/04/2010 14:20
China has dropped out of one security vendor's 'dirty dozen' of the top spam-sending nations for the first time.
The amount of spam relayed through Chinese servers has been falling steadily for some time says Sophos but its absence from the top names in the spam league table for Q1 2010 is still noteworthy.
US is king of spam; India comes second
The United States of America continues its unpopular reign as the king of spam, relaying more than 13 per cent of global spam, accounting for hundreds of millions of junk messages every day, said Sophos, an IT security and control firm.
India has come second on the list followed by Brazil and South Korea.
UK makes the 'dirty dozen' of global spam-relaying countries
Security firm Sophos has released its latest top 12 list of the worst countries for relaying spam, placing the UK at ninth.
The US came top in Sophos' 'dirty dozen', relaying over 13 per cent of all spam and accounting for "hundreds of millions of junk messages every day". India came second at just over seven per cent, followed by Brazil at just under six per cent.
Dirty dozen spam-relaying countries revealed by Sophos, Q1 2010 [news release]
China dramatically disappears from list of worse spam-relaying nations for the first time
IT security and control firm Sophos has published its latest report into the top twelve spam relaying countries, covering the first quarter of 2010. The United States of America continues its unpopular reign as the king of spam, relaying more than 13 percent of global spam, accounting for hundreds of millions of junk messages every day.
However, most dramatically, China - often blamed for cybercrime by other countries - has completely disappeared from the so-called "dirty dozen", coming in at 15th place with responsibility for relaying just 1.9% of the world's spam.
The top twelve spam relaying countries for January to March 2010
1. USA 13.1%
2. India 7.3%
3. Brazil 6.8%
4. S Korea 4.8%
5. Vietnam 3.4%
6. Germany 3.2%
=9. United Kingdom 3.1%
=9. Russia 3.1%
=9. Italy 3.1%
10. France 3.0%
11. Romania 2.5%
12. Poland 2.4%
"All eyes aren't so much on which countries are on the list, but the one which isn't. China has earnt itself a bad reputation in many country's eyes for being the launch pad of targeted attacks against foreign companies and government networks, but at least in the last 12 months they can demonstrate that the proportion of spam relayed by their computers has steadily reduced," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "A new dirty 'gang of four' - South Korea, Brazil, India and their ringleader USA - account for over 30% of all the spam relayed by hacked computers around the globe."
Spam accounts for a staggering 97 percent of all email received by business email servers, putting both a strain on resources and wasting a huge amount of time to lost productivity. Used largely as a method for selling counterfeit or illicit goods such as fake pharmaceuticals, luxury watches and false diplomas, virtually all spam comes from malware infected computers (called 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 only way for users and administrators to reduce the risk of being compromised is to run anti-spam and anti-malware protection and ensure all software and hardware is up to date with security patches.
"Countries such as the USA would do well to remember that cleaning-up infected PCs in their own back yard will be an important step in fighting cybercrime. Furthermore, we all shouldn't forget that if no-one bought products sold via spam there would be a lot less incentive to send junk email," explained Cluley. "Computer users should not just protect their computers from threats like malware and spam, they should also pledge to never ever buy anything advertised via spam."
By continent, Asia continues to dominate in spam, with more than a third of the world's unsolicited junk email relayed by the region. Although the US remains the top offender by country, North America as a whole has reduced its spam throughput since last quarter, dropping from second to third place. The breakdown of spam relaying by continent is as follows:
Top spam-relaying continents, January to March 2010
1. Asia 33.7%
2. Europe 31.2%
3. N America 16.9%
4. S America 14.7%
5. Africa 2.6%