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23 Jul 2012

One In Every Two Spam Messages Sent From Asia, Sophos Reveals

Sophos calls on all internet users to take greater care in protecting their computers

IT security and data protection firm Sophos has published the latest 'Dirty Dozen' of spam-relaying countries, covering the second quarter of 2012. While North America continued to reduce the proportion of spam it relayed by email, Asia increased its output and is now responsible for relaying 49.7% of all spam captured in SophosLabs's global network of spam traps.

Despite only 5.3% of the world's internet users reportedly living in India*, the country topped the list by a significant margin and was accountable for 11.4% of the world's spam seen throughout April, May and June.

The UK has managed to remain out of the top twelve spam-relaying countries for the last four consecutive quarters, having last appeared in April - June 2011.

The US dropped from the top spot of spam-relaying countries to second place in Q1, and has now moved down to fourth place behind India, Italy and South Korea.

The top 12 spam-relaying countries for April to June 2012 are as follows:

Country
1) India 11.4%
2) Italy 7.0%
3) South Korea 6.7%
4) USA 6.2%
5)Vietnam 5.8%
6) Brazil 4.4%
7) Pakistan 3.7%
8) China 3.2%
9) France 3.1%
10) Russia 2.9%
11) Poland 2.7%
12) Taiwan 2.6%
Other 40.3%

"Spam emails make up an average of 45-50% of corporate email - that is one unwanted, unsolicited message for every important communication!" said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "We all pay the price: our email systems have to process and deliver the message, and our own time is wasted dealing with the spam email once it is in our inbox."

Sophos recommends that organisations and ISPs implement technology and follow best practice to ensure that malicious emails are not reaching inboxes.

Asia increased its level of spam output, and the continent is now responsible for almost half of the world's spam. Europe is responsible for about a quarter, while North America produced nearly 9%.

Top spam relaying continents for April-June 2012 are as follows:

Continent
1) Asia 49.7%
2) Europe 26.4%
3) South America 11.2%
4) North America 8.6%
5) Africa 3.6%
Other 0.5%

"The chief driver for Asia's dominance in the spam charts is the sheer number of compromised computers in the continent," explained Cluley. "Malicious hackers hijack poorly-protected computers, and command them - without their owners realising - to send out unwanted money-making messages and malicious links. Everyone has a responsibility to ensure that their PC or Mac is properly defended against such attacks. If they take no care over their computers they're simply adding to the world's spam problem."

Further information about the latest Dirty Dozen report can be found on Sophos's Naked Security site at: http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com

For more advice on how to combat spam, visit: http://www.sophos.com/en-us/security-news-trends/best-practices/spam.aspx

* Source: http://www.internetworldstats.com/top20.htm

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.