The "Dirty Dozen" 2004: Sophos reveals the top spamming countries

December 24, 2004 Sophos Press Release

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 at Sophos scanned all spam messages received at its global network of honeypots throughout 2004 and at the top of the list was the United States, which is responsible for exporting 42.11% of all spam.

The top twelve spam producing countries are as follows:

  1. United States
  2. South Korea
  3. China (incl Hong Kong)
  4. Canada
  5. Brazil
  6. Japan
  7. France
  8. Spain
  9. United Kingdom
  10. Germany
  11. Taiwan
  12. Mexico
42.11%
13.43%
8.44%
5.71%
3.34%
2.57%
1.37%
1.18%
1.13%
1.03%
1.00%
0.89%
Others 17.8%

"When we first reported on the top spamming countries back in February 2004, the USA had the excuse that the CAN-SPAM act had been in existence for a couple of months," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Almost a year and millions of spam messages later, it is quite evident that that the CAN-SPAM legislation has made very little headway in damming the flood of spam."

Sophos notes that the most broadband-connected country in the world, South Korea, has held tightly onto its position as a leading producer of spam.

"Spammers are motivated by one thing - fast and easy money," continued Cluley. "Many spammers have taken their money-making schemes to the extreme by hacking into innocent third-party computers in an effort to do their dirty work. Many home users' computers are sending out spam because they have had their broadband internet connections exploited by remote hackers. Zombie computers - PCs that have been compromised by hackers or virus writers - are sending out over 40% of the world's spam, usually to the complete ignorance of the PC's owner."

Sophos recommends that users should avoid purchasing anything that is advertised via spam, and to deploy a consolidated solution at the email gateway, which can protect against both spam and viruses.