Home Page ContentPress Releases Sophos: Over Half of All Spam Messages Now Come from Asia

Sophos: Over Half of All Spam Messages Now Come from Asia

by david.nunes

Sophos Research – Over Half of All Spam Messages Now Come from Asia


Four Asian nations join the ‘Dirty Dozen’, with South Korea responsible for greatest annual increase


Singapore. November 2, 2011 – IT security and data protection company Sophos has announced the findings of its latest research into the top twelve countries responsible for relaying spam messages – the ‘Dirty Dozen’ for Q3 2011.


Although the USA remains the single worst offender, Asian nations now contribute a significantly higher proportion of global spam than for the same period in 2010.  Jumping up the table five places, South Korea is second to the USA, contributing 9.6% of all global spam emails.  Several Asian nations – Indonesia, Pakistan, Taiwan and Vietnam – have joined the Dirty Dozen since Q3 2010, with India dropping to third place behind South Korea and being responsible for 8.8% of the world’s spam.


The top 12 spam relaying countries for July to September 2011 are as follows:


1.      United States                 11.3%

2.      S Korea                          9.6%

3.      India                               8.8%

4.      Russia                            7.9%

5.      Brazil                              5.7%

6.      Taiwan                            3.8%

7.      Vietnam                          3.5%

8.      Indonesia                       3.3%

9.      Ukraine                           3.1%

10.     Romania                        2.8%

11.     Pakistan                        2.0%

12.     Italy                               1.9%


Other ranking:


13.    China                              1.91%

14.    Poland                            1.86%

15.    France                            1.59%

16.    United Kingdom              1.57%

23.    Germany                        0.92%

24.    Spain                              0.85%

25.    Canada                          0.81%

28.    Philippines                      0.78%

31.    Singapore                       0.71%

41.    Netherlands                   0.44%

43.    Australia                         0.36%

51.    Ireland                            0.26%

54.    Japan                             0.21%

55.   Austria                             0.20%

56.   Portugal                           0.19%

57.   South Africa                    0.18%

61.   Switzerland                     0.16%

65.   Sweden                           0.14%

66.   New Zealand                   0.13%

68.   Hong Kong                      0.13%

69.   Belgium                           0.12%

78.   Croatia                            0.09%


“The spam that attempts to smash its way into users’ email accounts can vary from being annoying adverts to downright malicious attacks.  In the worst cases, a spam message might be designed to infect your computer with a Trojan horse or phish your banking credentials,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.  “These latest statistics suggest that, as more people get online in Asia, they are not taking the right measures to protect their computers from infection, which results in the growth of botnets.”


The vast majority of spam emails are distributed by botnets – networks of infected machines (zombies) which are under the control of spammers.


Computer users risk becoming part of botnets if they do not run up-to-date antivirussoftware and the latest security patches.  Typical methods of infection include clicking on links or attachments in spam messages.  The problem is not limited to traditional email, social networking services arealso exploited by fraudsters to spread money-making surveys via spammed-outmessages.  Botnets are also used by cybercriminals to launch Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS), where thousands of zombie computers are used to connect to a specific website, forcing it offline as it struggles to cope with the increase in traffic.





The percentage of spam coming from Asia has increased, with over half of all spam messages now being relayed via the continent:


Top spam-relaying continents, July – September 2011


Asia                                           50.1%

Europe                                     21.4%

North America                         14.2%

South America                         10.6%

Africa                                         3.0%

Other                                        0.7%


During Q3 2010, Asia was responsible for 30% of all spam.  The output has now increased to 50.1% from 35.1% at the beginning of 2011.  Europe contributes over ten percent less spam than it did during the same period last year, and several European nations have exited the Dirty Dozen.  The UK, at 5th place, contributing 5% of global spam in Q3 2010, currently resides in 16th place overall, responsible for relaying 1.6% of spam.


“If you receive spam messages, check any filter settings you may have and make sure your security software is running and has the latest patches installed,” continued Cluley.  “Don’t ever be tempted to buy anything via spam, as that’s what makes it worthwhile for the spammers.


Don’t even open unsolicited emails as that alone could lead to malware infection – send them straight to the trash.”


Further information about the latest Dirty Dozen report can be found on Sophos’s Naked Security site at:  




About Sophos  

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing security and data protection solutions that are simple to manage, deploy and use and that deliver the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network access control solutions backed by SophosLabs – a global network of threat intelligence centers. With more than two decades of experience, Sophos is regarded as a leader in security and data protection by top analyst firms and has received many industry awards.


Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.



Related Articles

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More