Spam: talking Turkey
Country enters top three league of national offenders as one unwanted e-mail generating site logged every three seconds…
IT security and control firm Sophos has published its latest report on the top twelve spam-relaying countries for the first quarter of 2008. The bods at SophosLabs scanned all spam messages received in the company’s global network of spam traps, to reveal that 92.3% of all e-mail sent during the first three months of 2008 was spam. In addition, during this period, Sophos found 23,300 new spam-related Web pages every day, or one about every three seconds. Plus, for the first time, Turkey ’s contribution to the global spam problem puts it in the top three offending countries. Compromised computers in Turkey are now responsible for relaying 5.9% of the world’s spam, compared to 3.8% in the final quarter of 2007.
Sophos calculates that between January and March 2008, the USA and Russia as spam generators maintained first and second place respectively, but both countries did manage to reduce their contribution to the worldwide problem compared to the final three months of 2007. However, over the last year the number of spam messages sent from compromised Russian computers has more than doubled. In the first quarter of 2007, Russia was in tenth position in the Sophos chart, relaying just 3%of the world’s spam: today this figure stands at 7.4%.
"Turkey ’s appearance in the top three makes for an interesting realignment so early on in the year, but does not mean that other countries can give up the fight – spam is a global problem and must be tackled as such,” comments Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. “The US continues to relay far more spam than any other country, but the gap is closing, suggesting that users may be receiving more education on safe computing and becoming more security savvy than before.”
Sophos experts note that the rate at which new spam-related Web pages are being created is particularly worrying for businesses, and argue that all organisations must make sure that their spam filters are up to date and able to defend against the latest threats. By inserting Web links into their messages, spammers are hoping to avoid less sophisticated filters and trick unwary computer users into visiting the Web page and subsequently infecting their PCs.
“As long as spammers continue to make money from these nasty ruses, the spam plague will continue,” observes Theriault. “Businesses must wise-up to this threat and recognise the importance of quarantining spam messages before they are delivered to the unsuspecting user. If the right security measures are put in place, businesses can not only save time and money, but can also protect their users from wider, malicious Web-based threats, which commonly originate as spam e-mails with links to infected sites.”
In other recent spam-related news intrusion prevention and security risk management specialist McAfee Inc is this month conducting its global S.P.A.M. (Spammed Persistently All Month) experiment. This involves participants from around the world - ranging from homemakers, government executives, and students to retirees - surfing the Web, making online purchases and registering for promotions. Participants have been provided with a clean laptop without spam protection and a new e-mail address. They are blogging about their experiences daily at
a proven link between spam and cybercrime, the experiment aims to show the devastating effects of spam.
“Spam isn't just a nuisance. It's a tool used by cyber criminals to steal personal and business data,” points out Christopher Bolin, chief technology officer for McAfee. “And, as scammers become more adept at writing spam in local languages it's becoming more difficult for Internet users to detect spam. It's vital that computer users understand the risks of leaving their computers unprotected.”
“Cybercrime won't go away without solving the problem of spam,” adds Dave DeWalt, chief executive officer for McAfee. “McAfee is leading the fight against cybercrime and spam. This experiment will raise awareness of the problem by showing that a 30-day diet of spam is bad for your online health.”
S.P.A.M. experiment participants are from ten countries spanning the globe - including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the USA.
Not Turkey though.