India a Leader in Spam

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 @ 11:04 PM gHale

The volume of email spam originating from India during the first three months of this year exceeded the volume coming from the U.S. and transformed the Asian country into the world’s top spam source, a new study said.

India was responsible for 9.3% of global email spam traffic seen from January to March, according to security firm Sophos’ latest Dirty Dozen report, which lists the top 12 countries from which most spam originates.

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The U.S., which has been the traditional leader of the list, came in second place after India during the first quarter of 2012, with 8.3 percentage points. South Korea followed with 5.7.

The vast majority of spam goes out from computers infected with some type of malware and is now part of a botnet, said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos. “If you have a spam in your inbox, there’s an almost one in ten chance that it was relayed from an Indian computer.”

Other security providers confirmed India’s spam leadership position. The monthly spam statistics published by antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab for January, February and March also listed India as the top spam source.

However, the U.S. didn’t even make it into Kaspersky’s top 12 spam sources for these three months, so there is definitely a discrepancy between what the two antivirus vendors are seeing.

The overall throughput of global email spam messages has decreased during the first three months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. This is because of antispam actions taken by ISPs, but also because spammers have started favoring social networks for marketing spam, Cluley said.

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