Sophos reveals top spam-relaying countries in ‘Dirty Dozen’ list

18 Jul 2013

The US maintains its grip as the top spam-relaying country and Belarus makes a huge leap into second place, security firm Sophos has revealed in its ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of countries that relay the most spam.

The latest ‘Dirty Dozen’ list covers the second quarter of 2013.

Three new countries have entered the top 12: Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Argentina, while three other countries have exited the Dirty Dozen: France, Peru and South Korea.

Future Human

The US is in the No 1 spot because of its population of 300m people and its lion’s share of the world’s internet connectivity, according to Sophos.

India and China have also both landed on the Dirty Dozen list, as they are countries with populations of more than a billion people and an increasing demand for internet access.

Sophos states that although the Dirty Dozen denotes the extent to which a country’s computers are used for delivering spam, it doesn’t identify where the spammers themselves are located. That’s because most spam is sent indirectly these days, especially if it is overtly malevolent. Malevolent spam would include, for example, phishing emails, which try to lure the email recipient into entering passwords into mockups of a real site, such as a bank.

The Dirty Dozen list tells us how spam gets relayed from the crooks to their potential victims, said Paul Ducklin, Sophos security evangelist.

“Even if you’re the most law-abiding citizen of the most law-abiding country in the world, you might be helping to project your own country into the Dirty Dozen if you don’t take security seriously on your own computer. It may sound corny, but security really does begin at home.”

Ducklin added that a few simple precautions can help enormously, such as “timely security patching, an up-to-date anti-virus and a healthy scepticism about unwanted attachments and ‘too-good-to-be-true’ offers.

“By taking these steps, you’ll not only protect yourself, but also help to protect everyone else at the same time,” Ducklin said.

The top 12 spam-relaying countries by volume for April to June 2013:

Dirty Dozen

The top 12 spam-relaying countries by population for April to June 2013:

Dirty Dozen

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic