The USA has moved into third place behind Italy in SophosLabs's latest Dirty Dozen spam report, where India takes top position for relaying spam.
Nearly one in six spam messages comes from India. According to the newest "Dirty Dozen" report form SophosLabs, which names and shames the 12 countries with the highest spam generation share every quarter, India -- responsible for relyaing 16.1 percent of all spam -- has retained its position at the top of the league for the third quarter in a row. Italy, responsible for 9.4 percent is second while the USA, so long the world's spam king, is now in third place with 6.5 percent.
However, India isn't the only big mover. The UK has returned to the chart as a new entry in 12th place with 2.1 percent following an 18-month absence.
But the chart doesn't mean that India is responsible for creating all that spam, merely that compromised computers in the country are relaying it to inboxes around the world. Home to 5.3 percent of the world's internet users, India is only behind China and the US in terms of online connectivity. However, the fact that it is in first place and China in 10th (3.1 percent) points to the fact that as only 10.2 percent of the country's population actually has internet access, a much larger percentage of its computers that are online are not sufficiently protected from malware and other virus threats that turn PCs into spam-relaying machines.
However, any computer can be turned into what SophosLabs's Graham Cluley calls "spam-spitting zombie slaves, controlled by the cybercriminals who make money by punting junk emails to promote questionable goods, or simply use malicious spam to infect more computers."
So, in order to help keep your country out of the dirty dozen, SophosLabs has a list of recommendations:
Never make a purchase from an unsolicited email
If spamming weren't economically viable, it would be obsolete. Not only can an email user fall prey to a potentially fraudulent sales scheme, but his or her email address can also be added to the numerous email lists that are sold within the spamming community, further compounding the number of junk emails received.
If you do not know the sender of an unsolicited email message, delete it
While most spam is usually just annoying text, a spam email message could actually contain a virus and/or other exploit that could damage the computers of all who open it.
Never respond to any spam messages or click on any links in the message
Replying to any spam message, even to "unsubscribe" or be "removed" from the email list only confirms to the spammer that you are a valid recipient and a perfect target for future spamming.
Avoid using the preview functionality of your email client software
Many spammers use advertising techniques that can track when a message is viewed, even if you don't click on the message or reply. Using the preview functionality essentially opens an email and tells spammers you are a valid recipient, which can result in even more spam.
When sending email messages to a large number of recipients, use the blind copy (BCC) field to conceal their email addresses
Sending email where all recipient addresses are "exposed" in the "To" field makes it vulnerable to harvesting by a spammer's traps.
Think carefully before you provide your email address on websites, newsgroup lists or other online public forum
Many spammers utilize "web bots" that automatically surf the internet to harvest email addresses from public information and forums.
Never give your primary email address to anyone or any site you don't trust
Share it only with your close friends and business colleagues.
Have and use one or two secondary email addresses
If you need to fill out web registration forms, or surveys at sites from which you don't want to receive further information, consider using secondary addresses to protect primary email accounts from spam abuse. Also, always look for a box that solicits future information/offers, and be sure to select or deselect as appropriate.