[ISN] Most spam still coming from the U.S.

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Tue Jan 24 2006 - 22:34:04 PST


By Joris Evers 
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
January 24, 2006

Almost a quarter of the world's spam in the last three months of 2005
was sent from computers in the United States, according to U.K.  
antivirus company Sophos.

The U.S. is closely followed by China, with 22.3 percent. South Korea
rounds out the top three with 9.7 percent, according to Sophos, which
said the level of non-English language spam is rising. The company
bases its numbers on a scan of all junk mail caught by its spam traps.

While the U.S. still tops the chart, the latest figures mark the first
time the country accounts for less than one quarter of all spam
relayed, Sophos said. The decrease is a continuing trend. Last
October, 26.3 percent of all spam sent from April through September
last year was sent from the U.S., a significant drop from 41.5 percent
a year earlier, Sophos said.

The decline in U.S.-sourced spam is thanks in part to the crackdown
against fraudulent e-mail, Sophos said. In particular, the company
pointed to monetary damages that spammers have been ordered to pay as
well as jail sentences, tighter legislation and improved coordination
among Internet service providers.

The numbers do suggest, however, that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates'
prediction two years ago that the spam problem would be solved by now
has not come true.

The spam tide appeared to slow in the first half of last year, with an
annual average of 68.6 percent of all e-mail identified as spam,
according to recent MessageLabs data. However, in the closing months
of 2005, the rate of spam e-mail increased, and in the most frequently
targeted industry sectors, telecommunications and health care, eight
out of 10 messages was spam, according to MessageLabs, which sells a
spam-blocking service.

The majority of the junk mail, 60 percent, is now being relayed by
compromised PCs, called zombies, that are at the beck and call of
cybercriminals, Sophos said.

A zombie is typically infected by a Trojan horse or other malicious
code and is used remotely to send spam, mount denial-of-service
attacks, or other online crimes. The criminals typically rent out the
capabilities of their network of zombies, also called a botnet.

Jumps in the number of spam messages can also be attributed to
"pump-and-dump" schemes that advertise stock, Sophos said.

The top 12 spam relaying countries, according to Sophos, are as

1. United States, 24.5 percent
2. China, 22.3 percent
3. South Korea, 9.7 percent 
4. France, 5 percent 
5. Canada, 3 percent
6. Brazil, 2.6 percent
7. Spain, 2.5 percent
8. Austria, 2.4 percent
9. Taiwan, 2.1 percent
10. Poland, 2 percent
10. Japan, 2 percent
12. Germany, 1.8 percent

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