India is third among the top 12 spam spewing nations of the world for the period December 2012 – February 2013, as per a SophosLabs report. This is good news considering the nation was at the top the last time Sophos released its “Dirty Dozen” report in October 2012. At the time, India topped the list of spam-relayers in the world for the third time in a row. Simply put, roughly one in every six spam emails was from India.
This time though, USA topped this list by contributing 18.3 percent of the spam, followed by China at 8.2 percent and India at 4.2 percent. “In the last three months, almost one fifth of all global spam has come from computers in the Land of the Free,” the report notes. By the looks of it, a lot has changed since the October 2012 report was released. Back then USA had been third in the list, while China sat at 10, contributing 6.5 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.
Asia emerged as the top spam-relaying continent in the period December 2012 – February 2013. It contributed to 36.6 percent of the spam, followed by Europe at 27.5 percent, North America at 22 percent, South America at 10.9 percent and Africa at 2.6 percent.
India now third on the list (Image credit: Getty Images)
The report goes on to clarify that the big swing in the locations is due to the fact that the spammers have “recently had an easier time compromising computers in the US”. It says that inadequately protected computers are invitations to attacks and allows spammers to use the system to “pollute the Internet.”
Back in October last year, when India topped the list, it indicated that there was a noticeable lack in security measures to protect the region's computers. SophosLabs revealed that spam did not necessarily emerge from India's computers. Instead, the numbers were an indication that infected machines had been “turned into spam-spitting zombies in botnets,” as Sophos' Graham Cluley pointed out when India pushed the US aside to claim the top spam-relayer spot in April last year.
Cluley was further quoted as saying, “India's growing role as spam relayer points to the country's PCs not only being used to send spam, but likely being themselves targets of other online threats.” As SophosLabs' Dirty Dozen report, a good number of PCs in the country have been infected by malware that then cause them to relay spam. These systems are controlled by cybercriminals, who see this as a way to make money by either sending junk emails promoting questionable goods or simply by using malicious emails to infect more computers.
In April last year, Trend Micro released a report stating that about 20 percent of the world's spam originated from India. A Sophos report released in July revealed that India tops the world list in spam-relaying nations, despite only 5.3 percent of the world’s Internet users living in India. It even says that if there’s even one spam mail in your inbox, there's more than a one in ten chance that it was relayed from an Indian computer. The report went on to say that India topped the list by a significant margin and was accountable for 11.4 percent of the world’s spam seen throughout April, May, and June.