KUALA LUMPUR (July 24): Asia is responsible for slightly less than half of Internet spam available, said IT and security data protection firm Sophos.
In a report released on Monday which highlighted the latest "Dirty Dozen" spam-relaying countries, it said that 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' global network of spam traps.
The report was from a period covering the second quarter (2Q) of 2012.
"Spam emails make up an average of 45%-50% of corporate email — that is one unwanted, unsolicited message for every important communication," said Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley.
"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," he said, adding that organisations and ISPs should implement technology and follow best practices to ensure that malicious emails are not reaching inboxes.
Sophos said that India was accountable for 11.4% of the world's spam seen throughout April, May and June, despite having only 5.3% of the world's internet users. Its closest rival, Italy, was accountable for 7% of the spam.
The US, which dropped from the top spot of spam-relaying countries to second place in 1Q, improved its position, ending up behind third-placed South Korea, the report stated.
Sophos said that 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 report said that while Asia increased its level of spam output and is now responsible for almost half of the world's spam, Europe is responsible for about a quarter, while North America produced nearly 9%.
"The chief driver for Asia's dominance in the spam charts is the sheer number of compromised computers in the continent," Cluley said. "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," Cluley concluded.
The top 12 spam-relaying countries for April to June 2012 are as follows:
1. India (11.4%)
2. Italy (7%)
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%)
13. Others (40.3%)
Sophos is a developer and vendor of security software and hardware. SophosLabs is the company's global network of threat analysis centres.
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