Spam Takes a Vacation

South sea islands account for more spam per capita than anyplace else in the world



If you're thinking of heading to a quiet Pacific island in order to escape spam, forget about it. Some of those islands are worse junk email offenders than the U.S., China, or Russia.

According to a report issued yesterday by security researcher Sophos, some of the Pacific islands relay more spam per capita than any of their larger neighbors across the globe.

Pitcairn Island -- a tiny spot where the mutineers of the HMS Bounty were marooned in 1790 -- relays more spam per person than any other location in the world, according to Sophos. The island's population is about 50 people.

The rest of the top 10 offenders are, in order: Niue, Tokelau, Anguilla, the Faroe Islands, Monaco, Bermuda, Falkland Islands, Andorra, and Aruba.

"Between October-December 2007, the U.S. relayed far more spam than any other country, due to the sheer number of computers in the country that had been taken over by remote hackers," said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. "But when measuring spam emitted per capita, the results are very different.

"Most of the countries [on the list] have very small populations compared to the usual offenders, but their totals are sky-high when it comes to spam emitted on a per-person basis," Theriault said. "Just because your PC is located on a remote island in the South Pacific doesn't mean it's not contributing to the global spam problem."

By contrast, many countries with large populations actually have a fairly low rate of spam per capita. Of the top three spam-producing countries, Russia is No. 45 on the list of the per-capita list, the U.S. is No. 64, and China is No. 132, Sophos reported.

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