Spam: A Leading American Export

Spam may be an international phenomenon, but it is an activity that has been mastered in the good ole USA.

August 17, 2004

2 Min Read
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It may not rectify the balance of trade, but the United States is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world when it comes to spam production and dissemination. It is a dubious distinction for sure--but one which the country nonetheless holds, according to the good folks at CipherTrust, a company that monitors e-mail messages to protect corporate and consumer networks.

According to their research, nearly 86 percent of all spam sent since May 2004 originated in the United States. But get this: only 28-percent of the total computers that sent spam messages during that same time period were located in the United States. In other words, Americans who spam, spam a lot. While Spammers outside of the United States also send unsolicited messages, they send a fraction of messages per IP address as those in this country. For example, both South Korea and the United States each accounted for 28-percent of the computers used to send spam. But the number of unsolicited messages sent from Korean-based computers accounted for only three percent of the total volume of spam.

"When it comes to spam, the U.S.-based spammers are the driving force, and assertions that the majority of spam comes from overseas simply aren't true," said Paul Judge, chief technology officer at CipherTrust.

They are not many in number, however. According to the analysts, there are as few as 200 major spammers in the United States. But what they lack in numbers they make up for in zeal.

Tempted though one may be to admire the chutzpah and chuckle at the roguish flair of spammers (after all, they are not degenerate hackers), they are not benign at all. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, spam now accounts for nearly half of all e-mail

traffic, reaching a critical mass of activity that is affecting network performance on the public Internet, as well as a growing number of corporate networks.

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