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Symantec Intelligence

MessageLabs Intelligence research on spam in Germany, the UK, the US, Canada and Australia

Created: 25 Sep 2009 • Updated: 25 Sep 2009
Daren Lewis's picture
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We've taken a closer look at spam on a regional/city basis in five large markets for September 2009, Just as we see differences in spam rates between countries we often see significant differences within countries:

  • The areas that are subjected to the highest levels of spam are generally those locations that are populated with a higher density of small-to-medium sized businesses. Similarly, the least spammed places are often home to some of the largest companies.
  • Between four million and six million computers scattered across the globe have been compromised by cybercriminals without the user’s knowledge. These computers now form robotic networks – Botnets, which are controlled by cybercriminals and used to send out more than 87% of all unsolicited mail, equating to approximately 151 billion emails a day
  • The global spam rate for September 2009 is 86.4 percent, but Canadian businesses are receiving more than their fair share, with levels reaching 90.6 percent.
  • Spammers have preferred target industries with the Engineering and Education sector being the top global targets with spam levels reaching more than 93 percent.


US

  • The spam capital of the US is Idaho with 93.8 percent of spam, far exceeding the global spam rate for September 2009 of 86.4 percent. Idaho has jumped 43 spots since 2008 when it was ranked the 44th most spammed state. The top ten spammed states all have spam levels of 90.3 percent or higher.
  • Interestingly, the top three most spammed states were among the ten least spammed states in 2008. The difference can be attributed to the resilient and aggressive botnet market as well as a higher volume of global spam that has ensued since the beginning of the credit crisis toward the end of 2008.
  • The least spammed US territory is Puerto Rico with 83.1 percent of spam, just slightly lower than the global average spam level. Puerto Rico retained its status among the least spammed states since 2008.
  • In the US, the difference between the most and least spammed states was a margin 15.1 percent in 2008. In 2009, it has narrowed to 10.7 percent proving that spam levels across the US have increased and nowhere can be considered a safe-haven from spam.
  • In the US, the most spammed industries are: Marketing, Wholesale, Recreation, Engineering and Real Estate while the least spammed are: Chemical and Pharmaceutical, followed by Agriculture, Public Sector, Transportation and Healthcare.
US Spam Rates


UK

  • Alton in Hampshire – last year’s runner up - is the spam capital of the UK in 2009 with business users sent an average of 397 spam emails per day
  • The top 5 most spammed towns received more than 189 spam messages per user per day, the level received by last year’s top target, Egham in Surrey
  • The average numbers of spam messages received per user per day in the UK is 68
  • Fareham in Hampshire is the least spammed place in the UK for the second year in a row
  • The most targeted sectors include: Business Admin Services, Marketing & Media and Education, followed by Recreation and Accommodation & Catering. Least spammed is Chemical & Pharmaceutical followed by Healthcare, Minerals & Fuel, Manufacturing and Building & Construction
 

Canada

  • From coast to coast, spammers are attacking Canadian in-boxes but the most and least spammed provinces can be found in the East. In New Brunswick 90.6 percent of email is spam while in Newfoundland & Labrador 85.3 percent of email is spam.
  • The average number of spam messages received per user per day in Canada is approximately 49.
  • Seven of the nine Canadian provinces receive spam in excess of the current global spam rate of 86.4 percent.
  • In Canada, the most spammed sector is Retail, followed by Marketing & Media, Professional Services, Manufacturing and Recreation. The least spammed are: Healthcare, Mineral & Fuel, Education, Engineering and Wholesale.


Germany

  • Hamburg is the spam capital of Germany with levels reaching 95% and business users receiving an average of 101 spam emails per day
  • The average number of spam messages received per user per day in Germany is 55  
  • The top 10 spammed locations all receive in excess of 90.5% spam; however the least spammed location of Villingen-Schwenningen is not being ignored as it still receives 80.6% spam
  • From Hamburg in the North to Kempten in the South, Essen in the West and Berlin to the East, all corners of Germany are in the top five most spammed places
  • In Germany, the most spammed industry is: General Services, followed by Marketing & Media, Wholesale, IT Services and Recreation. Least spammed are: Healthcare, Mineral & Fuel, Chemical & Pharmaceutical, Business Admin Services and Building & Construction


Australia
 

  • Auburn in NSW is the most spammed suburb in Australia, with levels reaching 94.1%. Auburn is one of four suburbs in the top six based in NSW, including neighboring suburb Silverwater. Both have a high concentration of small businesses, a known target for spammers due to the possibility of less security protection than a larger business
  • The six most spammed suburbs all have higher spam levels than the national average of 90.7%
  • Canberra, with 93.4% spam, is the only state or territory capital city to have spam levels above the Australian average however all the other leading cities are still receiving more than 86.6% spam
  • The most spammed industries in Australia are Healthcare, Wholesale, Minerals/Fuel & Professional Services, all with spam levels above 90 percent
 
 

Top Tips to Stamp out Spam

  • Protect your email address - using your primary email address anywhere on the web puts it at risk of being picked up by spammers so be careful where you use it
  • Watch out for the checkboxes – when you buy or sign up for something online, opt out of being contacted by third parties, you don’t know where your address will end up. 
  • Don’t use the reply, remove or forward options – acknowledging the spam email using any of these options only validates your email address and can lead to more spam.
  • Use an unusual name – if you use an email address with numbers in it for instance, you are less likely to receive spam. Spammers often use directories of common names to guess email addresses, e.g. ajones@company.com, bjones@company.com, etc.
  • Avoid clicking on any links in spam messages – the addresses of links are frequently disguised and often serve only to confirm your existence to spammers. Same with unsubscribe links.
  • Avoid downloading pictures in spam email – these can identify you as a recipient even if you just view the message in the preview pane. You can view your email as text to prevent this, or you can set your email security to block external images.
  • Use a spam filtering service – Don’t let spam get close to your inbox by having it filtered out beforehand by your ISP or by using an anti-spam service.