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India Passes U.S. as Top Spamming Country

Close to one in 10 spam e-mail originated from India, according to a report by security firm Sophos.  

Sophos' latest "dirty dozen" release, which reports on the top spam-originating countries, found that for the first time since conducting this research, India has overtaken the U.S. as the top spam relaying country during the study period of January to March of this year.  

India chalked up 9.3 percent of all outgoing spam e-mail, while U.S.-based spam accounted for 8.3 percent. Coming in third was South Korea with 5.7 percent.

One reason given for India's jump to first place on the list was due to the recent growth of computer users in the country. "The latest stats show that, as more first-time internet users get online in growing economies, they are not taking appropriate measures to block the malware infections that turn their PCs into spam-spewing zombies," said Sophos in a blog post.

The report found that these "spam-spewing zombies" accounted for 80 percent of spam e-mail sent. "The vast majority of spam comes from home computers that have been compromised by hackers, and commandeered into a botnet," wrote Sophos. "Remote hackers can send spam from recruited computers, as well as potentially steal information or install other malicious code."

Sophos found that the overall amount of spam e-mail had decreased since the same period in 2011. This, the company said, was due to both widespread crackdowns by ISPs and a change in tactics by spammers, which includes targeting social network sites like Facebook and Pintrest.

And with the shift in targets comes with a shift in motivation. Phishing attacks, which try to procure personal information including passwords, usernames and credit card info, increased, while basic marketing spam dropped.

Sophos' "dirty dozen for January-March 2012:

  • India, 9.3%
  • USA, 8.3%
  • South Korea, 5.7%
  • Indonesia, 5.0%
  • Russia, 5.0%
  • Italy, 4.9%
  • Brazil, 4.3%
  • Poland, 3.9%
  • Pakistan, 3.3%
  • Vietnam, 3.2%
  • Taiwan, 2.9%
  • Peru, 2.5%

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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