One in Every Two Spam Messages Sent From Asia, Sophos Reveal

IT security and data protection firm Sophos has published the latest 'Dirty Dozen' of spam-relaying countries, covering the second quarter of 2012. 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.

Despite only 5.3% of the world’s internet users reportedly living in India*, the country topped the list by a significant margin and was accountable for 11.4% of the world’s spam seen throughout April, May and June.

The US dropped from the top spot of spam-relaying countries to second place in Q1, and has now moved down to fourth place behind India, Italy and South Korea; while 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 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. Other - 40.3%

“Spam emails make up an average of 45-50% of corporate email - that is one unwanted, unsolicited message for every important communication!” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “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.”

Sophos recommends that organisations and ISPs implement technology and follow best practice to ensure that malicious emails are not reaching inboxes.

Asia increased its level of spam output, and the continent is now responsible for almost half of the world’s spam. Europe is responsible for about a quarter, while North America produced nearly 9%.

Top spam relaying continents for April-June 2012 are as follows:

  1. Asia - 49.7%
  2. Europe - 26.4%
  3. South America - 11.2%
  4. North America - 8.6%
  5. Africa - 3.6%
  6. Other - 0.5%

“The chief driver for Asia’s dominance in the spam charts is the sheer number of compromised computers in the continent,” explained Cluley. “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.”

For more advice on how to combat spam, visit: