Thursday, August 2, 2007

US still world's top spammer

The US is still responsible for more unsolicited email than any other country, according to new figures.

Security firm Sophos said that 19.6 per cent of all spam originates in the US, more than twice as much as that coming from the next worst offender, China, which produces 8.4 per cent of the world's spam.

The UK is reponsible for 2.8 per cent of all unsolicited email, in 10th place in the global chart. However, spam is a truly global problem, according to Sophos.

"For every spam campaign, the spammers, the compromised computers used, and the people being deluged by the unsolicited mail are often located in totally different parts of the world," said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos.

Spammers operate by spreading viruses that allow them to take control of infected PCs. These PCs become 'bots' - computers that are operated remotely to generate spam in high volumes.

Once spammers have a large number of 'bots' under their control, they can use the network, or 'botnet', to send unsolicited emails in vast quantities.

"We can see compromised systems send messages on a dozen different topics, from stock scams and cheap mortgages, to saucy porn and diet drugs. ISPs seriously need to examine whether they're doing enough to monitor whether their users are unwittingly relaying spam as well as educate them about the how to defend their home PCs," said Theriault.

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