Spam production continued its unabated growth in the fourth quarter and the U.S. remained atop the list of countries trafficking all manner of unsolicited missives.
As eSecurity Planet reports, more than 18 percent of the hundreds of millions of spam messages distributed in the fourth quarter came from U.S.-based computing devices. That’s almost triple the number sent out from second-place India.
More troubling, these spam campaigns aren’t just come-ons for pharmaceutical drugs and timeshares. They’re more insidious than ever before, taking unsuspecting victims to malicious websites to infect their computers or smartphones and lead them down the path to identity theft or worse.
Sophos researchers said the escalating volume and sophistication of spam campaigns is a direct result of users’ interest in or desire for most of the products offered. It estimates more than 36 million Americans purchased prescription drugs from unlicensed online sellers, giving spammers every reason to ramp up their operations.
“Spam is certainly here to stay, however the motivations and the methods are continuing to change in order to reap the greatest rewards for the spammers,” Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, said in the report.