US now 'No 1 for spam relaying'

The United States is now responsible for nearly one in five junk emails, says a report from security firm Sophos.

Email spam output from the USA has increased significantly since the second quarter of 2010, from 15.2 per cent to 18.6 per cent of global spam, says Sophos.

The figures conclude that the USA contributes nearly 2.5 times more spam than the next worst offender, India. The UK finds itself dropping one position since the previous quarter - from fourth to fifth place - and is now responsible for relaying 5 per cent of all spam this quarter.

The 12 top spam relaying countries for July-to-September 2010 were:

1: United States  18.6 per cent
2: India               7.6 per cent
3: Brazil              5.7 per cent
4: France            5.4 per cent
5: United Kingdom    5.0 per cent
6: Germany         3.4 per cent
=7: Russia           3.0 per cent
=7: South Korea    3.0 per cent
9: Vietnam         2.9 per cent
10: Italy            2.8 per cent
11: Romania     2.3 per cent
12: Spain          1.8 per cent

Other:               38.5 per cent

The top spam-relaying continents, July-to-September 2010 were:

Europe:      33.1 per cent
Asia:          30.0 per cent
North America:     22.3 per cent
South America:     11.5 per cent
Africa:        2.3 per cent
Other:         0.8 per cent

Almost all of this spam comes from malware-infected computers (known as bots or zombies) that are being controlled by ‘botherder’ cybercriminals, Sophos reports. One of the primary tactics used by cybercriminals to grow botnets involves tricking computer users into clicking malicious links - either contained in spam email or social networking messages - which direct computers to malware-infected webpages.

Sophos also notes a rise in social networking spam during Q3/2010, with the widely reported ‘onMouseOver’ exploit creating spam tweets on Twitter, and a raft of Facebook scams that have been created by spammers to generate money from survey websites.

More information:
www.sophos.com/blogs/gc/g/2010/10/14/usa-poorly-protected-pcs

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