Three new countries enter the top twelve - Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Argentina, while three other countries exit the Dirty Dozen - France, Peru and South Korea.
With more than a billion people and an increasing demand for internet access in both countries, it’s no surprise to see China and India in the Dirty Dozen; and with more than 300 million people and the lion's share of the world's internet connectivity, it’s also no shock that the US leads outright. So what happens when spam scores are scaled up or down in proportion to each country's population?
Half of the volume-based countries are gone, and others that would usually fly under the radar when measured on spamming volume alone, like Luxembourg and Singapore, suddenly burst onto the scene. This doesn't mean that Singapore is replete with spam-related cyber criminality.
Although the Dirty Dozen denotes the extent to which a country's computers are used for delivering spam, it doesn't identify where the spammers themselves are located. That's because most spam is sent indirectly these days, especially if it is overtly malevolent, such as:
- Phishing emails: These try to lure you into entering passwords into mock-ups of a real site such as your bank or your webmail account.
- Malware links: These urge you to click links that put you directly in harm's way by taking your browser to hacked websites.
- Malware deliveries: These use false pretences, such as fake invoices, to trick you into opening infected attachments.
- Identity theft: These invite you to reply with personally identifiable information, often by claiming to offer work from home opportunities.
- Investment scams: These talk up investment plans that are at best unregulated and at worst completely fraudulent.
- Advance fee fraud: These promise wealth or romance, but there are all sorts of fees, bribes and payments to hand over first.
There are a few simple precautions can help enormously, according to Ducklin. These include "timely security patching, an up-to-date anti-virus and a healthy skepticism about unwanted attachments and 'too good to be true' offers. By taking these steps, you'll not only protect yourself, but also help to protect everyone else at the same time."
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