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[liberationtech] Brazil: The New Spam King

Yosem Companys ycompanys at
Sun Dec 27 21:55:10 PST 2009


*Brazil: The New Spam King*
Andy Greenberg, 12.08.09, 12:00 AM ET

China has long been the scapegoat of the cybersecurity world. But when it
comes to junk e-mail, a new emerging market has taken the title of the
world's most prolific spammer: Brazil.

According to a report released Tuesday from the security division of Cisco,
Brazil was responsible for 7.7 trillion spam e-mail messages in the year
through November, nearly triple its spam output in 2008. That puts it well
ahead of the U.S., which sent 6.6 trillion spam messages in the same period
this year, down from 8.3 trillion in 2008.

Brazil's spam boom is no mystery. The country, says Cisco security
researcher Patrick Peterson, is suffering the same junk mail epidemic that
other fast-growing nations have experienced as they plug into the Internet.
"Brazil has had very fast broadband rollout, but without the user education,
antivirus, firewalls and Internet service provider programs that are cutting
off spam in the U.S.," Peterson says.

Brazil isn't the only big source of spam in the fast-rising developing
world. India, which has long produced relatively few junk messages in
comparison to the size of its economy, was responsible for 3.6 trillion
messages by Cisco's count, well over double its output last year.

Neither Brazil nor India is directly responsible for the flood of spam that
has emanated from the two countries as their digital economies come online.
Both nations are likely being exploited by global cybercriminals who see
cheap domains and large numbers of unprotected PCs as an opportunity to
funnel junk mail around the world.

Countries' spam output correlates loosely with the number of computers
infected with malicious software. The Shadowserver Foundation, a group that
tracks collections of hijacked computers known as botnets, told Forbes in
July that Brazil, Russia, India, China and Vietnam had the highest rate of
infections of the Conficker worm that tore through the Internet early last

One piece of good news from Cisco's data is China's new spot on the list:
No. 7, with a mere 2.4 trillion spam e-mail messages in 2009, about 25% less
than last year. Cisco's Peterson says the country has been aggressively
cleaning up its spam problem, protecting computers and using government
pressure to convince Internet service providers to cut off their
spam-sending accounts. "Because of China's form of government, they can
effectively say to ISPs, 'Don't let this happen, or else.'"

China's drop-off in spam production, however, couldn't keep up with the flow
of junk e-mail from new sources. Overall, spam volumes rose to almost 250
billion messages a day in November, compared with around 100 billion a day
in November of last year.
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