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Usually quarterly spam trend reports from security vendors are, how can I put this nicely, actually I can't so I will just have to say it as it is: bloody boring and mostly pointless. However, the latest such report to fins its way into my mailbox from Sophos caught my attention because right from the get go it went on the attack, and the target was none other than US President Barack Obama.

Now just the what the heck Obama has got to do with spam, other being one of the names that crops up in spam subject fields to try and get past junk traps and attract reader attention, was at first a little puzzling. Then I read on and realised that what the accompanying press release was actually saying is that it is all very well for Obama to give one of his eloquent and forceful speeches but maybe glass houses and throwing stones should be remembered here.

Obama said that it was the "great irony of our Information Age" that the "very technologies that empower us to create and to build also empower those who would disrupt and destroy" continuing that this paradox both seen and unseen "is something that we experience every day." Unfortunately, much of the disruption would appear to be coming from within the US itself.

Referring to the spam trends report for the second quarter of 2009, which showed that the US contributed some 15.6 percent of global spam traffic, or one in every six junk emails sent, more than any other country in fact, Graham Cluley the senior technology consultant at Sophos made the following comment:

"Barack Obama's recent speech on cybersecurity emphasised the threat posed by overseas criminals and enemy states, but these figures prove that there is a significant problem in his own back yard. If America could clean up its compromised PCs it would be a considerable benefit to everyone around the world who uses the net."

Interestingly, Russia has managed to do just that it would seem, dropping from second place in the spamming dirty dozen list this time last year to ninth now. Last year Russia relayed 7.5 percent of all spam, not it has got that number down to just 3.2 percent. So while countries like Australia get more spam than the US, it is America that is sending most of it out to other countries.

The top twelve countries responsible for relaying spam across the globe between April and June 2009 were as follows according to Sophos:

  1. United States 15.6%
  2. Brazil 11.1%
  3. Turkey 5.2%
  4. India 5.0%
  5. South Korea 4.7%
  6. Poland 4.2%
  7. China (inc. Hong Kong) 4.1%
  8. Spain 3.4%
  9. Russia 3.2%
  10. Italy 2.8%
  11. Argentina 2.5%
  12. Vietnam 2.3%

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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