US lengthens lead as top spammer

Rivals improve record to leave US spamming rate a standout.

The US remains the world's leading source of spam, easily beating off competition from rivals China and several European nations, according to reports out this week.

Sophos's quarterly 'Dirty Dozen' list shows the US way out in front, producing or relaying almost 20% of all spam. This is somewhat down from previous lists, a continuation of a steady decline over the last few years from highs of over 50% in 2004 and regular scores of around 35% in 2005, a decrease attributable to a general increase in wealth and uptake of technology worldwide.

What makes the latest stats stand out is the lack of any major rival; while China and South Korea have generally run the US pretty close in previous studies, this time no other nation even makes it into double figures, with China still in second place but scoring a mere 7.5%, with Korea down in fourth at just 7%. In third place, somewhat surprisingly, comes Poland, a newcomer to the list, while regulars such as the UK and Canada have fallen from the top twelve, who between them pump out almost 70% of the world's junk emails.

Suggested reasons behind the unexpected figures have varied from improved efforts to combat spamming to the after-effects of the Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami, which damaged network infrastructures in south Asia.

'Like with their car emissions, China have shown greater willingness and ability to cut their output of spam pollutants than the US,' said John Hawes, Technical Consultant at Virus Bulletin. 'Both regulation and enforcement need some work if the reputation of America in this area is to improve.'

Symantec's April spam report also shows North America way ahead in the spamming stakes, reckoning over 45% of spam originates in the region, and 55% of all email. Europe is some way behind on around 35%, while all of Asia manages not much over 15% - other continents barely register. The report, which can be found (in PDF format) here, also discusses trends in image spam levels and techniques used by spammers to push their wares.

Posted on 13 April 2007 by Virus Bulletin.

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