Firms fail to kick junk

2 Feb 2007

Irish spam levels fell from their Christmas high but junk email remains a significant problem, as it accounted for 53.12pc of all messages last month.

Monthly tracker data released by IE Internet shows a range of different sources for the unwanted imports. The US was top of the list in January but accounted for barely more than a quarter of spam coming in to Ireland – a much lower figure than previously.

Close to one fifth of spam (19.85pc) originated from the Russian Federation and 16.27pc came from Brazil, the data showed. France and the UK each sent just over 10pc of junk email and Mexico was the next most commonly identified source with marginally more than 5pc.

Commenting on Russia and Mexico’s presence on the list, Ken O’Driscoll, chief technical officer with IE Internet, said: ‘Previously, the volume of spam originating from these two countries was not enough compared to the other countries to ever put them in the top six.”

China and South Korea, which had both figured strongly among the senders list in previous months, dropped out of the top five altogether. O’Driscoll said there had been some speculation that a recent earthquake in South East Asia may have severed some key underwater fibre lines connecting those countries to the internet.

“I don’t know enough to say that’s the case but it would be plausible that the operators of the remaining internet links, such as satellites, would be very careful not to let spammers jam their already oversubscribed bandwidth,” he told

IE Internet’s site now has an online poll, asking participants whether spam is a problem in their company. The overwhelming majority said it is – 85.9pc categorised it as “chronic” and 10pc said they receive a lot of spam.

The rate of virus infection in January was 11.58pc and the most frequently occurring malware was Zafi.B. Second placed W32/Warezov.gen appears to be in for the long haul, O’Driscoll suggested. “We’re detecting an awful lot of infections from a relatively new virus,” he added.

O’Driscoll pointed out that Warezov does require the user to click though several ‘Are You Sure’ dialogue boxes before it can run. “That would indicate that nearly 10 years on since the first major email virus appeared, people are still opening attachments from strangers,” he remarked.

By Gordon Smith