New York: India has become the top spam-spewing nation in the world according to computer security firm Sophos’ latest “Dirty Dozen” report, which lists the top 12 countries from which most spam originates.

India has leapt to the top of the spam chart in less than a year, rapidly eclipsing the US (more here and here). The volume of junk mail that originated from India during the first three months of 2012 exceeded the volume coming from the US. Nearly 10 percent of all junk mail sent across the web originates from or passed through computers in India, said the data protection firm.

India has leapt to the top of the spam chart in less than a year, rapidly eclipsing the US. Reuters

“If you have a spam in your inbox, there’s an almost one in ten chance that it was relayed from an Indian computer,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

Boston-headquartered Sophos said India has risen to the top of the spam chart because of the rapid growth of new Internet users in the country and computers that are not properly protected.

“The latest stats show that, as more first-time internet users get online in growing economies, they are not taking measures to block the malware infections that turn their PCs into spam-spewing zombies,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

Facebook, Twitter spread junk mail

Spammers are increasingly finding traditional email spam ineffective, so they are turning to social networks to spread spam campaigns. Here is the bad news: Basic marketing spam has decreased, but the amount of messages that spread malware or that represent more targeted attempts to phish usernames, passwords and personal information is increasing.

“While traditional marketing spam may appear to be no more than an annoyance, offering pills that have questionable claims or ‘get rich quick’ schemes, they can often to lead to more serious threats to your personal information,” said Cluley.

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest were all being hit with increasing regularity by spammers, warned Sophos.

The Dirty Dozen

Sophos estimates that about 9.3 percent of all junk mail travels through Indian computers. In second place is the US (8.3 percent) and South Korea (5.7 percent) is third. Indonesia tied with Russia (5.0 percent) at fourth place, while Italy (4.9 percent), Brazil (4.3 percent), Poland (3.9 percent), Pakistan (3.3 percent), Vietnam (3.2 percent), Taiwan (2.9 percent), Peru (2.5 percent) and other countries 41.7 percent rounded out the rest of the Dirty Dozen.

How you can fight spam

Sophos said companies should update their corporate virus protection, and run a consolidated solution at their email and web gateways to defend against spam and viruses. You should also defend home computers and laptops with licensed virus protection products, to prevent becoming part of a botnet used for the purposes of sending spam.

India’s new position as king of spam among countries was also confirmed by spam reports from other security vendors like Kaspersky Lab and Trend Micro.

Publish date: April 25, 2012 7:38 am| Modified date: April 25, 2012 7:38 am

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