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UK spam levels rising but India world's worst culprit

16 Oct 2012

UK spam levels have risen again, causing the country to re-enter the top 12 countries responsible for spam, according to security firm Sophos.

The UK's re-entry into the security firm's so-called Dirty Dozen list of offenders comes over a year spent outside of the top 12, having last appeared in the April to June 2011 report.

The spike means that the UK accounted for 2.1 per cent of all the world's spam between April and June. The reason for the rise in UK spam levels remains unknown.

"It's hard to give any specific reason I'm afraid. Of course, as the figures are country shares around the world, if one country goes down in percentage it means others are going up. It always has to add up to 100 per cent after all," Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley told V3.

Despite the rise in UK spam levels, the country's output still paled when compared to the top offender, India.

The report highlighted that India was the biggest distributor of spam, accounting for 16.1 per cent of all spam messages during the quarter.

The figure is almost double that of Italy, the second worst offender, which is responsible for 9.4 per cent of the world's spam.

India's continued growth in spam levels was attributed to a lack of moderation by the country's law enforcement, combined with inaction by computer owners to protect their machines from malware.

"The latest Dirty Dozen report suggests that a not insignificant number of PCs in India are harbouring malware infections that turn PCs into spam-spitting zombie slaves, controlled by the cyber-criminals who make money by punting junk emails to promote questionable goods, or simply use malicious spam to infect more computers," said Cluley.

"The authorities in India need to make IT security education a priority. One would be safe to assume that, if computer users in the country are being targeted in order to relay spam, they are likely victims of other online threats such as fraud."

The report follows news from security vendors that cyber-crime levels in Europe are growing. Most recently, security firm Trend Micro issued a report claiming the growth is largely down to an increase in the number of hacker gangs operating out of Eastern Europe.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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