IT security and control firm, Sophos, has published its latest
report on the top twelve spam-relaying countries for the first
quarter of 2008.
Experts at SophosLabs scanned all spam messages received in the
company's global network of spam traps, and have revealed that 92.3
percent of all email sent during the first three months of 2008 was
spam. In addition, during this period, Sophos found 23,300 new
spam-related webpages every day, or one about every three
For the first time, Turkey's contribution to the global spam
problem puts it in the top three offending countries. Compromised
computers in Turkey are now responsible for relaying 5.9 percent of
the world's spam, compared to 3.8 percent in the final
quarter of 2007.
Between January and March 2008, the US and Russia maintained
first and second place respectively, but both countries did manage
to reduce their contribution to the worldwide spam problem compared
to the final three months of 2007. However, over the last year the
number of spam messages sent from compromised Russian computers has
more than doubled. In the first quarter of 2007, Russia was in
tenth position in the chart, relaying just three percent of the
world&'s spam - today this figure stands at 7.4 percent.
Elsewhere in the chart, the UK is at number ten, responsible for
relaying 3.4 percent of all spam, up from 2.5 percent and 12th
place in the final quarter of 2007.
The top twelve spam-relaying countries are as follows:
||China (inc. Hong Kong)
"Turkey's appearance in the top three makes for an interesting
realignment so early on in the year, but does not mean that other
countries can give up the fight - spam is a global problem and must
be tackled as such," said Carole Theriault, senior
security consultant at Sophos. "The US continues to relay far more
spam than any other country, but the gap is closing, suggesting
that users may be receiving more education on safe computing and
becoming more security savvy than before."
Sophos experts note that the rate at which new spam-related
webpages are being created is particularly worrying for businesses,
and all organisations must ensure that their spam filters are up to
date and able to defend against the latest threats. By inserting
weblinks into their messages, spammers are hoping to avoid less
sophisticated filters and trick unwary computer users into visiting
the webpage and subsequently infecting their PCs.
As long as spammers continue to make money from these nasty
ruses, the spam plague will continue, said Theriault. Businesses
must wise-up to this threat and recognise the importance of
quarantining spam messages before they are delivered to the
unsuspecting user. If the right security measures are put in place,
businesses can not only save time and money, but can also protect
their users from wider, malicious web-based threats, which commonly
originate as spam emails with links to infected sites.
Spam by continent
Sophos's breakdown of spam-relaying countries by continent is as
Asia and Europe continue to dominate the spam by continent
chart, accounting for 65 percent of the world's spam in the first
quarter of 2008. Both continents experienced an increase in the
proportion of spam relayed compared to the last quarter of 2007,
with Asia's figure rising from 32.1 percent to 34.3 percent,
closely followed by Europe which increased from 27.1 percent to
30.7 percent. North America remains in third place, but has managed
to further reduce the amount of spam it relays from 26.5 percent
during the last quarter, to 18.9 percent.
"Spam is a worldwide issue that affects everyone who owns a
computer," continued Theriault. "This quarter's figures show that
the swarms of financially-motivated criminals are now controlling
more zombie-machines in Asia and Europe, compared to the Americas.
The considerable increase in the amount of spam relayed by these
top two offenders does not mean that spammers are based in these
continents, but that the computers in these regions remain poorly
defended. If users do not make a conscious effort to improve their
computer security, as well as keeping it up-to-date, then they may
as well hand their machines over to the hackers for use as malware
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.