According to Sophos' "Dirty Dozen" list of top spam relaying countries for Q1 2012, India recently overtook the U.S. to become the world's leading distributor of spam.

The five leading countries for January to March of 2012 were India at 9.3 percent, the U.S. at 8.3 percent, South Korea at 5.7 percent, Indonesia at 5.0 percent, and Russia at 5.0 percent. Leading continents were Asia at 46.7 percent, Europe at 26.9 percent, South America at 11.9 percent, North America at 10.9 percent, and Africa at 3.0 percent.

"Most spam comes from home computers that have been compromised by hackers," the company said in a statement. "India’s rise to the top spot comes as the number of new Internet users in the country is growing very rapidly, suggesting that computers in the country are not properly protected and that ISPs are not taking spam as seriously as they should."


"The good news is that overall throughput of global email spam messages has decreased since Q1 2011," notes Sophos' Graham Cluley. "This is partly because of better work by ISPs around the world, but also reflects a change in tactics by cybercriminals. Spammers are increasingly finding traditional email spam ineffective, turning to social networks to spread these kinds of marketing spam campaigns instead."

"For the record: Sophos competitors Kaspersky and Trend Micro had both already indicated that India was the world’s biggest source of spam in the past, and Cisco Systems even ranked India at the top in its 2011 security report [PDF file]," notes TNW's Robin Wauters.