US still worst for spam, but not as a continent – Dirty Dozen

11 May 2011

The US remains the top spam-relaying country in the latest ‘Dirty Dozen’ report from IT security and control firm Sophos, although its performance is improving.

Between January and March of this year, the US’ proportion of global spam output fell significantly from 18.83pc to 13.7pc of all spam relayed from compromised computers.

The UK also saw a drop, with its spam pollution falling from 4.54pc to 3.2pc of total global spam relayed.

Apart from the US, India, Russia, Brazil and South Korea are the top 5 in the ‘Dirty Dozen’. Countries that are at the other end of the scale, ie, lowest spam-relaying countries, include South Africa, New Zealand, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Asia leapfrogs Europe

An interesting twist in the first quarter is that Asia has leapfrogged Europe as the top spamming continent, accounting for 35.1pc of total spam.

“Although the US and UK contribution to the global spam problem has decreased in percentage terms, it is essential for organisations not to become complacent,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. 

“Financially motivated criminals are controlling compromised zombie computers to not just launch spam campaigns, but also to steal identity and bank account information.

“Users need to be educated about the dangers of clicking on links or attachments in spam mails and many computers may already be under the control of cyber criminals. Businesses and computer users must take a more proactive approach to spam filtering and IT security in order to avoid adding to this global problem.”