USA, your poorly protected PCs are polluting the world with spam

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

Latest estimates reported in the press suggest that more than 2.2 million PCs based in the USA were hijacked by cybercriminals in the first half of 2010, and used as part of a botnet.

And what’s one of the principal reasons why cybercriminals compromise innocent users’ PCs? To send spam without their knowledge.

It’s still a surprise to many people who don’t work in the field of computer security, but the vast majority of the spam you receive in your inbox is not sent from the spammers’ own computers but relayed through infected PCs belonging to regular members of the public.

In other words, Aunty Hilda could be the one pumping out all that Viagra spam.

And where are most of the world’s Aunty Hildas? The United States.

Here are the latest stats from SophosLabs, showing the “dirty dozen” spam-relaying countries for the third quarter of this year.

The top twelve spam…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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