Spam levels soar in Asia

Spam levels soar in Asia

Fewer than two in 10 emails are genuine

Almost 90 per cent of all email sent from some Asian nations is spam, according to recent research.

The percentage of spam coming from most areas is significantly worse than the global average of 61 per cent, according to data from security firm Symantec.

Among the worst hit nations are the Philippines at 88 per cent, followed by South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand, where more than 80 per cent of outgoing email is spam.

All countries in the Asia Pacific region, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand, generate more spam than the global average. In China, the world's most populous nation, 68 per cent of messages sent are spam.

Symantec gathered data from users of its software and from a global network of computers and email accounts dedicated to recording spam, malware, botnet attacks and other online security threats.

The company noted that the region from which the spam originates may not correspond with the region in which the spammers are located because spammers often try to cover their tracks.

The impact of the Asian spam epidemic is being felt close to home. A quarter of the spam received in Asia during the first six months of the year originated in China, although this figure was a considerable decrease from the 37 per cent recorded in the second half of 2006.

Japan is challenging China for the position of top spam source in the region, accounting for 24 per cent of the total, up from 20 per cent in 2006.

Rapid broadband growth in Asia means that many users are unfamiliar with basic online security measures. As a result, large numbers PCs are vulnerable to takeover by botnet operators who then use them to send out spam.