April 24, 2012
Most Of Your Spam Is Served Up Through India
Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com
Security firm Sophos has released a new report on the world´s Spam and where it comes from. Calling it the “dirty dozen,” the experts from SophosLabs list the top 12 countries distributing spam to the rest of the world. Taking the crown from the United States this year is India, as Sophos says there is a one in ten chance any kind of email spam originated from an Indian computer.
The “dirty dozen” list places India at the top with 9.1% of all spam coming from the sub-continent, the US at number two with 8.3% and South Korea at 5.7%. Rounding off the list is Indonesia, Russia, Italy, Brazil, Poland, Pakistan, Vietnam, Taiwan and Peru, respectively.
According to their report, the majority of spam comes from computers which have been compromised by hackers and thrown into a botnet. Once commandeered, these hackers can use these computers to remotely send spam, as well as steal information or install malicious programs.
The recent growth of the internet in India could be part of the problem.
"The latest stats show that, as more first-time internet users get online in growing economies, they are not taking measures to block the malware infections that turn their PCs into spam-spewing zombies," said Graham Cluely, Senior Technology Consultant at Sophos, according to BBC News.
The report did note the overall output of global email spam has been on a steady decrease since early 2011. This could be due in part to a shift to social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and more recently Pinterest. As email spammers find their email tactics to be less effective, they have now switched their attentions to social media in order to ensnare and entrap unsuspecting users.
Pinterest, for example, has been the latest target in social media spam threats, as spammy posts of beaches, puppies, and bikini midriffs point users to a website promoting the Acai Berry diet.
Users affected by these spam attacks will see their pin boards loaded with these images and spammy texts advertising weight loss products. This text will often accompany what is believed to be the original text with the image.
Also earning recent headlines is the Pinterest spammer, Steve, who uses spammed-pins or images on the site to point towards an Amazon affiliate link. If users who click on one of these images then happen to make a purchase on Amazon, Steve´s account gets a cut of the purchase. According to another blog by Sophos, Steve was able to make up to make more than $2000 a day using these spam techniques.
In an interview with Steve, he told Sophos, “I fully expect next week's earnings to be $2,000-2,500 a day. There are no guarantees in this business and it could all come crashing down soon. Not a matter of if, but when will it happen.”
Steve insists he isn´t pointing Pinterest users towards scams or malware and, as such, says he has no guilt about what he is doing.
“I'm not trying to scam anyone, or upload viruses to their computer or anything like that. I simply show products to the Pinterest community. I realize that I'm spamming the crap out of the site, but it´s nothing personal, just business,” said Steve.
Sophos says basic marketing spam may be decreasing, but the number of messages used to spread malware or targeted attempts to phish usernames and passwords are increasing.