UK fifth worst for spam relaying


The UK has been ranked as the fifth worst nation for sending out spam, with the US keeping top spot.

Between October and December 2010, 4.54 per cent of all spam in the world emanated from the UK, a Sophos report showed.

Back in August, the UK was ranked as fourth worst and in the entire third quarter of last year the country was responsible for five per cent of all global spam.

The US kept the unenviable number one spot, with India, Brazil and Russia making up the rest of the top five.

Europe remained the continent responsible for sending out more spam than any other, with a 32.11 per cent share. Asia was just behind on 31.89 per cent.

Whilst there was not much of a shake-up in terms of countries, spammers tactics have altered a little.

"Spam is certainly here to stay, however, the motivations and the methods are continuing to change in order to reap the greatest rewards for the spammers," explained Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

"What's becoming even more prevalent is the mailing of links to poisoned web pages - victims are tricked into clicking a link in an email, and then led to a site that attacks their computer with exploits or attempts to implant fake anti-virus software."

The return of the spam

Over the Christmas period, spam reduced massively due to huge botnets such as Rustock going out of contention.

Now, however, spam has made a return as the relevant botnets have revved up again, with Rustock pumping out plenty of pharmaceutical spam.

"Rustock has resumed activity, and appears set to continue where it left off on 25 December as the biggest source of global spam," a Symantec Hosted Services blog noted.

"While levels of Rustock output appears marginally lower than before Christmas, we see no reason they won't reach those previous levels again, bringing global spam levels back up to the approximately 90 per cent levels we had become so used to."

Security researchers have still not found a verifiable reason for why the likes of Rustock temporarily went out of the spamming business.

Whilst the botnet did not send out messages over the holiday period, Rustock continued to carry out click fraud on adverts across the web.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.