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The Deadly Duo: Spam and Viruses, February 2005

  |  March 22, 2005   |  Comments

Rich countries spam more.

The United States continues to be the world’s leading spam-originating country, accounting for 22.8 percent of spam internationally. Yet a country-by-country breakdown of spam-origination reveals the sizable role played by European nations in generating unwanted email.

Considered collectively, European countries account for nearly 25 percent of the world’s spam, according to Commtouch, a provider of anti-spam solutions. The bulk (88 percent) of this volume originates in E.U. member nations, which may seem counterintuitive, as the EU boasts some of the world’s strictest anti-spam laws.

"These trends contradict prevalent assumptions: that spam is primarily sent from developing areas," said Oren Drori, Commtouch’s director of product marketing. "In fact, Commtouch analysis shows that wealthy countries of Western Europe are the source of more spam than developing eastern European counterparts. The same trend can also be seen in the Asia Pacific region: richer countries simply spam more."

Regional Sources of Spam
Ranking Region Spam Sent
(%)
1. Europe (*) 24.70 (*)
2. Japan-Korea 24.24
3. US 22.80
4. Greater China
(Including: China, Taiwan, Hong Kong)
14.45
5. South America 6.03
Other 7.78
(*) European Union countries: 21.85%; Top spam-distributors: French, Spain, Germany, UK
Source: Commtouch Software Ltd.

Behind the U.S., leading spam-originating countries are South Korea, accounting for almost 22 percent of the world’s spam; China (12.5 percent); France (4.4 percent); and Spain (3.3 percent).

Leading Spam-Originating
Countries
Ranking Country Percentage
1. United States 22.81
2. South Korea 21.76
3. China 12.54
4. France 4.42
5. Spain 3.28
6. Brazil 3.04
7. Germany 2.84
8. United Kingdom 2.70
9. Japan 2.48
10. Canada 2.20
11. Poland 2.19
Others 19.74
Source: Commtouch Software Ltd.

In terms of volume, the percent of total spam email sent remained virtually unchanged (88 percent) in February, according to Postini, which based the finding on an analysis of 14.8 billion messages.

In a year-over-year comparison, The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) meanwhilefound the percent of spam received in consumer inboxes dropped to 53.1 percent in February 2005, from 60.4 percent in February 2004.

Viruses

Variants of the Netsky virus were again the most prevalent form of viral attack in February, and phishing viruses entered Central Command’s "Dirty Dozen" list of the most prevalent viruses for the first time.

"For the first time, the increasing prevalence of phishing scams was reflected in our monthly listing," said Steven Sundermeier, VP of products and services at Central Command. "This is particularly alarming as phishing scams seek to trick users into providing personal and financial information."

Variants of the Bagle virus were the second most prevalent virus attack in February, accounting for 23.6 percent of all attacks. (Variants of the Netsky virus accounted for 30.8 percent of virus attacks in the same time period.)

February 2005 Dirty Dozen
Ranking Virus Name Percentage
1. I-Worm.Netsky.Q 19.8
2. Exploit.Iframe.B 18.6
3. I-Worm.Bagle.BF 8.8
4. I-Worm.Bagle.BA 8.0
5. I-Worm.Netsky.D 5.6
6. I-Worm.Bagle.BE 5.4
7. I-Worm.Netsky.P 3.7
8. HTML.Bankfraud.I 2.6
9. I-Worm.Zafi.D 1.8
10. I-Worm.Netsky.C 1.7
11. HTML.Bankfraud.G 1.5
12. I-Worm.Bagle.AK 1.4
Other 21.4
Note: The table above represents the most prevalent
viruses for February 2005, number one being the most frequent.
Source: Central Command, Inc.

Sophos, an anti-spam/anti-virus software provider, found the frequency messages containing viruses dropped slightly, from one in 23 messages in January to one in 28 messages in February.

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