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India overtakes US to become top spam purveyor in early 2012

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A new report by IT security group Sophos says that India now accounts for 9.3 percent of all spam worldwide, overtaking the United States, which held the title in 2011.

gmail spam final
gmail spam final

According to research by IT security company Sophos, India is now the leading source of junk email. In the first three months of 2011, India relayed 9.3 percent of the world's spam, up from around 8 percent in 2011. More notably, it's overtaken the United States, which previously held the top spot. Overwhelmingly, these unwanted messages come from compromised home computers in the service of large botnets, and Sophos says that first-time computer users in rapidly growing economies often end up playing host to malware. Globally, the spread of spam has evened out compared to last year, when the US sent almost 11.5 percent of messages. Though many of the top offenders (like South Korea and Russia, which came in third and fourth both in 2011 and so far in 2012) are the same, there's less of a percentage gap between the top of the list and the bottom.

As India's spam share increases, Sophos also says that overall messages decreased worldwide so far this year. At the same time, that may simply be because of where people are going: social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are now seeing waves of spam as they become more popular. It's not clear from the methodology whether the global spam list takes this into account, so it's possible that India's current primacy is based on outmoded measurements.