US is top lone spammer but Europe reigns supreme

The United States sends more spam than any other country according to the latest spam report by security group Sophos.

Not only is the US retaining its crown as the top spammer, it’s running away from the crowd with yet another increase in its spam figures. From April to June of this year the US pumped out 15.2 percent of the world’s spam, an increase from its previous figure of 13.1 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Spam Chart
India has taken the second spot, with 7.7 percent of spam generated there, while Brazil gets third place with 5.5 percent.

The UK jumped into fourth place, up from its previous position of ninth place last year. It generated 4.6 percent of global spam.

The UK is not the only European country to see an increase in doling out spam. Other EU players like Germany and France also saw significant increases, and these combined with smaller countries have led to Europe being named the worst producer of spam in the world, sending 35 percent of it to angry computer users throughout the world, taking over from Asia which previously held the title.

Spam Chart 2
“It’s sad to see spam relayed via compromised European computers on the rise – the UK, France, Italy and Poland have all crept up the rankings since the start of the year,” said Graham Cluley, Senior Technology Consultant at Sophos.

“Financially-motivated criminals are controlling compromised zombie computers to not just launch spam campaigns, but also steal identity and bank account information. It’s an uphill struggle educating users about the dangers of clicking on links or attachments in spam mails, and that their computers may already be under the control of cybercriminals. 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.”

Asia came second in the top regions for spam, producing 30.9 percent, forcing North America into third place at 18.9 percent, with the majority of that from the US alone. South America produced 11.5 percent, while Africa only produced 2.5 percent.

Sophos revealed that a whopping 97 percent of all e-mails received by businesses are spam, resulting in a substantial network and resources strain as measures are put in place to tackle the excessive volume. It is unlikely that this will subside, however, as it remains a big moneymaker for many unscrupulous individuals.

“Spam will continue to be a global problem for as long as it makes money for the spammers. It makes commercial sense for the criminals to continue if even a tiny proportion of recipients clicks on the links,” said Cluley.

“Too many computer users are risking a malware infection that sees their computer recruited into a spam botnet. To combat the spammers, it’s not only essential for computer users to run up-to-date security software, but also resist the urge to purchase products advertised by spam.”