US tops ‘Spampionship’ league table of 2013

6 Feb 2014

Image via abimages/Shutterstock

Sophos Naked Security’s ‘Spampionship’ league table ranking the nations generating the most spam in 2013 has fingered the US as the leader of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ top spam-relayers.

Accounting for 14.5pc of the total spam sent during the last quarter of 2013, the US sealed its fate as the uncontested Spampionship champ of 2013. In second place was China, catching up on the world leader with a jump from 4.6pc to 8.2pc quarter-on-quarter. Third place-holder Russia also grew its spammy contribution from 3pc in Q3 to 5.5pc in Q4, rocketing up from outside of the top 10.

Every region of the world is strongly represented in the Spampionship table, excluding one: Africa. “The most obvious message from the Dirty Dozen charts is that the problem of zombified computers spewing spam is a truly global one,” said Sophos senior security analyst Paul Ducklin.

Zombie nation

These ‘zombie computers’ are really botnets of malware-infected computers used by spammers to distribute their unwanted emails and online messages, often without the computer owner’s awareness. So, it’s not that the US population is heavily involved in illegally sending spam, but really that many computers in the States are potentially infected with spam-relaying malware.

SophosLabs spam table

“In most cases, the countries in the Dirty Dozen made it onto the list because a statistically significant proportion of their residents are conducting business online using computers that are actively infected by remote-control malware,” says Ducklin. “So the spam aspect is just a symptom – the start of the problem. Zombie malware means the crooks are already on the inside. It’s up to you to turf them out.”

Results that dictated the rankings on the Spampionship table were compiled by SophosLabs, the global network of threat analysis centres from Sophos.

Spam image by abimages via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.