Sophos, a world leader in IT security and control, has published
its latest report on the top twelve spam-relaying countries over
the second quarter of 2007.
Experts at SophosLabs™
scanned all spam messages received in the company's global network
of spam traps, and have revealed that the US continues to relay
more spam than any other nation, accounting for 19.6 percent - a
decrease of just 0.2 percent from the previous quarter. However,
Europe now has six entries in the dirty dozen, which when combined,
account for even more spam-relaying than the US.
Sophos notes that the number of compromised PCs continues to
rise steadily in Europe.
Location of zombie computers in Europe that
sent spam during just a 30-minute period. Click to view an expanded
According to Sophos, the overall global volume of spam rose by
around 9 percent during Q2 2007, when compared to the same period
The top twelve spam-relaying countries are as follows:
||Percentage of spam relayed
||China (including Hong Kong)
"While the US remains top spam dog, the latest chart emphasises
the urgent need for joined-up global action to combat this growing
problem," said Carole
Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. "For every
spam campaign, the spammers, the compromised computers used, and
the people being deluged by the unsolicited mail are often located
in totally different parts of the world. A consolidated effort is
needed not only to pursue and prosecute spammers, but also to
convince computer users everywhere of the importance of blocking
rather than responding to spam messages. Everyone has a part to
play if we are to win the global battle against spam."
According to Sophos, the growing number of PCs across the US and
Europe, combined with an increase in the amount of internet service
providers offering cheap internet access - not all of which have
taken adequate steps to prevent spam-relaying activity - are
responsible for the strong Euro-American presence in the dirty
"Once a machine is compromised, it is often used to send out
spam for a variety of campaigns," continued Theriault. "In a matter
of seconds, we can see compromised systems send messages on a dozen
different topics, from stock scams and cheap mortgages, to saucy
porn and diet drugs. Internet service providers seriously need to
examine whether they're doing enough to monitor whether their users
are unwittingly relaying spam as well as educate them about the how
to defend their home PCs."
While there have been minor shifts in individual nations' chart
positions, the biggest single change occurs in the 'other' section,
which has risen from 30.6 percent in Q1 2007 to 35.0 percent in Q2.
This suggests that on an individual level, more nations are now
responsible for contributing to the problem of spam-relaying.
Additionally, having disappeared from the chart in Q1, the United
Kingdom has re-entered the dirty dozen in tenth place, responsible
for relaying 2.8 percent of the world's spam.
Spam relayed by continent
Despite the strong presence of the US and European nations in
the dirty dozen itself, the sheer number of Asian nations relaying
smaller amounts of spam meant that Asia proved to be the biggest
spam-relaying continent during Q2 2007. While Europe, which topped
the chart in Q1 2007, has reduced its percentage by 6.6 percent and
fallen to second place, Asia, North America, South America and
Africa have all seen rises in spam-relaying activity. Sophos
experts predict further levelling of these statistics over the
coming months, as spammers start to take advantage of the growing
number of inadequately protected computers in the likes of South
America and Africa.
The breakdown of spam-relaying by continent is as follows:
||Percentage of spam relayed
Sophos recommends that computer users ensure they keep their
security software up-to-date, as well as using a properly
configured firewall and installing the latest operating system
security patches. Businesses must also look to implement a best practice policy regarding email
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.