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Where are those dirty spammers coming from?

Sophos, developer and vendor for a range of security software and hardware, has released a list of the worst offenders in spam.

Ordered in terms of volume, the USA sits nicely atop the leaderboard with 13.8% share in the worldwide spam industry, while Belarus is shortly behind with 11.7% with other countries on the list including China, India, and Russia.

The April to June data shows several new entrants to the top ten with Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Argentina climbing up since the last few months.

The high placement of China and India does not come as much of a surprise with their huge populations and troubling spam sweatshops.

The USA's place on top also makes sense with their large share of the world’s internet capabilities and a 316 million population to boot.

Once the data is scaled by population a very different list emerges however as Belarus now claims the top spot with the US coming in 25th. China and India too are gone from the top ten, with countries like Kazakhstan, Uruguay and Taiwan taking their place.

The list represents how many computers are used for spam in each country, but it does not necessarily indicate where the spammers are.

Malware is often sent out by spammers attempting to gain access to a large number of computers. The computers are then secretly taken over by the spammers, giving them the ability to exponentially increase the volume of spam they can send out.

These remote computers are sometimes called ‘zombies’ or ‘bots’ - the ‘bots’ are used for tasks like sending out thousands of emails or links to fraudulent websites.

Another reason spammers tend to use computers remotely is to keep the heat away as using personal computers would be like signing their name on each bit of spam they created.

New Zealand isn’t squeaky clean in any of this either however.

In 2008, an investigation took place after a spam operation was found to be running in Christchurch. American authorities named it one of the world’s largest, even being responsible for up to a third of all unwanted emails worldwide.

The Kiwi spam operation sold herbal male-enhancement pills which claimed to permanently increase the size of the man’s penis, obviously this turned out to be false. The active ingredient for Viagra was instead found to be the cause of ‘enhancement’.

Have you ever been sucked in by spam? Are you surprised Belarus has such an issue with spam artists? Tell us your thoughts below