Think of spam and chances are your mind immediately turns to China or Russia and messages about sexual dysfunction or a financial deal you cannot believe. Maybe, though, your thoughts should be closer to home. Especially if home is in the United States.
According to the latest research from security specialists Sophos which has just published the quarterly 'Dirty Dozen' league table of spam relaying countries, China doesn't even feature in the list and Russia is only fourth when it comes to those countries relaying, or distributing if you prefer, the most spam. So who is top of this unsavoury list?
Yep, you guessed it, the United States.
The USA has been the single worst offender when it comes to pushing spam around the planet, although South Korea is catching up with the greatest year on year increase meaning it is now responsible for relaying 9.6 percent of the world's spam. The USA is responsible for 11.3 percent.
If you look at the spam problem from a continental perspective, however, things do improve somewhat for the USA as North America drops to third place behind Asia and Europe. Indeed, North America and Europe together only contribute 35.6 percent of the world's spam content whereas Asia can be thoroughly ashamed of the 50.1 percent it throws around.
To put that into some historical perspective, this time last year Asia was responsible for some 30 percent of global spam whereas Europe contributes 10 percent less than it did during that same period. Asian countries dominate the top ten list, with South Korea, India, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia and Pakistan all playing their part.
The top 12 spam relaying countries for July to September 2011 are as follows:United States (11.3%) S Korea (9.6%) India (8.8%) Russia(7.9%) Brazil (5.7%) Taiwan (3.8%) Vietnam (3.5%) Indonesia (3.3%) Ukraine (3.1%) Romania (2.8%) Pakistan (2.0%) Italy (1.9%) Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, explains "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. Don't ever be tempted to buy anything via spam, as that's what makes it worthwhile for commercial spammers. The best way for individuals to send a message that spam will not be tolerated is to not buy, not try, not reply".