Sophos reveals 'Dirty Dozen' spam producing countries, August 2004

August 24, 2004 Sophos Press Release

Anti-spam specialist reveals the biggest exporters of junk email

Sophos, a world leader in protecting businesses against spam and viruses, has published its latest report into the countries from which most spam messages originate.

Researchers scanned all spam messages received at its global network of honeypots in the last month and have revealed the top twelve spam producing countries. The United States remains by far the worst offender, exporting 42.53% of all spam.

The top twelve spam producing countries are as follows:

  1. United States
  2. South Korea
  3. China (& Hong Kong)
  4. Brazil
  5. Canada
  6. Japan
  7. Germany
  8. France
  9. Spain
  10. United Kingdom
  11. Mexico
  12. Taiwan
42.53%
15.42%
11.62%
6.17%
2.91%
2.87%
1.28%
1.24%
1.16%
1.15%
0.98%
0.91%
Others 11.76%

"Almost nine months on from the CAN-SPAM legislation and the United States' attempt to clean up its act appears to have had little impact. The States is still, by far, the biggest exporter of spam in the world," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Canada has made some progress, however, cutting the percentage of the world's junk email sent from the country by over half - from 6.8% six months ago to 2.9% today."

Sophos notes that the most broadband-connected country in the world, South Korea, has consolidated its position as a leading producer of spam - almost tripling the percentage of spam originating from its shores since February.

"Spammers are motivated by watching their bank accounts get fatter and fatter, and many have turned to hacking into innocent third-party computers to send their junk emails," said Cluley. "Many of the computers sending out spam are likely to have had their broadband internet connections exploited by remote hackers. "Zombie computers - PCs which have been compromised by hackers or virus writers - are sending out approximately 40% of the world's spam, all without the apparent knowledge of the user."

Sophos urges computer users not to purchase products advertised via spam, and to deploy a consolidated solution at the email gateway which can protect against both spam and viruses.

"Several measures have been suggested to tackle spam - from charging to send email to sender authentication mechanisms - but these alone will not solve the problem. Only a combination of technology, international legislation, and user action will put a stop to spam," continued Cluley.