Sophos: U.S. Spammers Gaining Ground

For the first time since the 2003 enactment of the CAN-SPAM Act, the United States failed to cut back the amount of spam originating from its shores each quarter. The country still produces more spam than any other, accounting for more than 23 percent of such messages sent throughout the world, according to Sophos’ quarterly “Dirty Dozen” report, which ranks the top 12 spam-relaying countries.

Sophos’ findings are based on a review of all spam messages caught in its global net of “spam traps” between April and June 2006. 

According to Sophos, most of the world’s spam comes from “zombies” or “bots,” or computers that have been hijacked by spammers via Trojan horses, worms or other malware, for the purpose of distributing unsolicited messages and other potential dangerous transmissions.

“It’s disappointing to see the United States lose some of its momentum in the war against spam; U.S. spam has declined every quarter since the inception of CAN-SPAM until now,” said Ron O’Brien, Sophos senior security analyst, in a release. “With a concerted focus on regulatory action and judicial punishment, the United States must now intensify its efforts to educate computer users on preventative security measures to curb the infestation of zombie computer.”

Sophos’ top 12 spam-relaying countries in the second quarter of 2006 are as follows:

  • United States: 23.2 percent
  • China (including Hong Kong): 20 percent
  • South Korea: 7.5 percent
  • France: 5.2 percent
  • Spain: 4.8 percent
  • Poland: 3.6 percent
  • Brazil: 3.1 percent
  • Italy: 3 percent
  • Germany: 2.5 percent
  • United Kingdom: 1.8 percent
  • Taiwan: 1.7 percent
  • Japan: 1.6 percent
  • Others: 22 percent

On the continent level, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan boosted Asian into the lead spam-relaying position, generating more than 40 percent of the world’s spam on their shores, according to Sophos. Europe is now the continent that produces the second-largest amount of spam, with North America taking the third-place position.

Sophos’ top six spam-relaying continents in the second quarter of 2006 are as follows:

  • Asia: 40.0 percent
  • Europe: 27.1 percent
  • North America: 25.7 percent
  • South America: 5.5 percent
  • Australia: 0.7 percent
  • Africa: 0.7 percent

To combat spam, Sophos suggests that all Web surfers keep their antivirus software up to date, use properly configured firewalls and make sure all the appropriate patches are applied to their operating systems to fix security vulnerabilities.

For additional Sophos information on battling spam, visit its website.

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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