Quick Hits

U.S. Tops Spam's 'Dirty Dozen' List Once Again

Pharma, other ad spam still big, but targeted, phishing spam on the rise, Sophos says
Once again, the U.S. has the dubious distinction of being the No. 1 spam-relaying country in the world, accounting for about one in every five spam messages, according to the latest "Dirty Dozen" list issued by Sophos today.

Europe, meanwhile, is the spammiest continent, sending out one-third of all spam worldwide, according to fourth quarter data from Sophos. The U.S. accounts for nearly 19 percent of spam, up from the third quarter version of the report.

India holds the No. 2 slot, with 6.88 percent, followed by Brazil (5.04 percent), Russia (4.64 percent), and the U.K., which went from 5 percent of all spam in the third quarter to 4.54 percent in the fourth quarter. Next in line are France (3.45 percent), Italy (3.17 percent), South Korea (3.01 percent), Germany (2.99 percent), Vietnam (2.79 percent), Romania (2.25 percent), and Spain (2.24 percent). Other countries made up the remaining 40.17 percent.

While the common subject-matter spam, like pharmaceutical advertisements, is still hot, Sophos says spam is increasingly rigged with malware and phishing scams to steal information.

Continent-wise, Asia is second to Europe with 31.89 percent of all spam, followed by North America, with 22.38 percent; South America, with 10.25 percent; and Africa, with 2.12 percent.

"Spam is certainly here to stay, however, the motivations and the methods are continuing to change in order to reap the greatest rewards for the spammers," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "What's becoming even more prevalent is the mailing of links to poisoned Web pages -- victims are tricked into clicking a link in an email, and then led to a site that attacks their computer with exploits or attempts to implant fake antivirus software."

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