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Report Reveals United States is Leading Source of Spam
By: wubayou
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    A new report released by Sophos last week revealed that the United States is the top offender worldwide when it comes to relaying spam. The Sophos report listed what it called the “Dirty Dozen,” or the top twelve countries in terms of relaying spam messages.

    The United States' ranking in the top spot is not exactly a surprise when you consider that, according to a Microsoft report released earlier, over 2.2 million of the nation's personal computers were part of botnets in the first half of 2010.  A botnet is a network of Internet computers that is used to relay spam and other malicious viruses to other computers. The majority of the time, victims are unaware that their computers are infected or associated with botnets.

    The report, which gathered statistics for the third quarter of 2010, found that the United States was responsible for 18.6 percent of the spam worldwide. That percentage is more than double of the country in second place on the list, which was India with 7.6 percent. Rounding out the Dirty Dozen were Brazil, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Vietnam, Italy, Romania, and Spain, in that order. Other nations that did not make the top twelve were responsible for 38.5 percent of spam. 

    The United States' portion of spam worldwide jumped 3.4 percent since the second quarter. Another notable trend is that the United Kingdom was successful in decreasing spam, as it dropped from fourth to fifth place in the rankings.

    The report also detailed spam distribution among continents. Europe took the first place spot with a 33.1 percent share, while Asia was close behind with 30 percent. North America was responsible for 22.3 percent, most of which was attributed to the United States. South America was fourth with 11.5 percent, and Africa was fifth with 2.3 percent.

    While many might consider the ridiculous and sometimes incoherent spam messages as a nuisance, they are far more than a daily annoyance. Spam is a way for cybercriminals to extend their reach across the globe, and it is used as an avenue to collect sensitive data such as personal information, access codes to financial accounts, and more. By clicking malicious links in spam email messages, users can have their PCs converted into “zombies” that become part of vast networks responsible for fraud, theft, and other cyber crimes.

    Besides typical spam emails, the Sophos report also found that social networking sites were another popular target for hackers. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter were hit during the third quarter with various scams used to trick members into filling out surveys that padded hackers' bank accounts. Many social networking members were also redirected to malicious sites, asked to click links, etc. Once finished, their accounts would be unknowingly used to spread the spam among their friends.

    To protect yourself against spam and other scams on the net, there are a few tips to follow. First, make sure you have the latest security patches downloaded.  Also, run updated antivirus software. Finally, avoid clicking on suspicious links and use common sense.

    For more on this report, visit http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/news/articles/2010/10/dirty-dozen-q32010.html

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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