Pitcairn Islands relays most spam per person, reveals Sophos

March 10, 2008 Sophos Press Release

Spammers take remote control of innocent computers around the world to send junk email. Image copyright (c) Sophos
Spammers take remote control of innocent computers around the world to send junk email.

IT security and control firm Sophos has revealed the top ten countries relaying the most spam per capita. The top three spam-relaying countries - the United States, Russia and China - which accounted for 33.8 percent of all spam in Q4 2007, are notably absent from the chart.

The following shows the top ten countries based on spam emitted per capita:

1. The Pitcairn Islands
2. Niue
3. Tokelau
4. Anguilla
5. The Faroe Islands
6. Monaco
7. Bermuda
8. Falkland Islands
9. Andorra
10. Aruba

When the top three spam-relaying countries are considered in terms of population, the United States is in 64th position, Russia in 45th, and China plummets to 132nd.

"Between October-December 2007, the US relayed far more spam than any other country due to the sheer number of computers in the country that had been taken over by remote hackers," said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. "But when measuring spam emitted per capita, the results are very different. Most of the countries in this chart have very small populations compared to the usual offenders, but their totals are sky high when it comes to spam emitted on a per-person basis. Just because your PC is located on a remote island in the South Pacific doesn't mean it's not contributing to the global spam problem. All computer users, wherever they are in the world, need to wake up to the threats and ensure their PCs are properly protected."

The changing positions of other top spam-relaying countries when looking at them from a spam-per-person perspective are as follows:

- The United Kingdom drops from 9th to 50th
- Canada drops from 26th to 89th
- Japan drops from 32nd to 136th
- Australia drops from 33rd to 85th

Recently, Sophos published its annual Security Threat Report, which discussed the ways in which financially-motivated cybercriminals use compromised computers to relay their spam messages around the world.

Sophos recommends that all computer users protect their desktops, gateways and servers with IT security solutions that provide automatically updated protection against viruses, spyware, hackers, and spam.