Russia Put at No. 2 in Spam List

A new Internet security report puts Russia at No. 2 on the list of spam-relaying countries, but virus-infected computers may deserve more credit than the country's cyberoutlaws.

IT security firm Sophos released a list of the "dirty dozen" worst countries for the fourth quarter of 2007, topped by the United States, with 21.3 percent of the world's spam. Russia was runner-up with 8.3 percent, followed by China, Brazil and South Korea -- all with about 4 percent.

Russia "stormed into second place" because of the number of virus-infected computers. "Financially motivated criminals are controlling huge proportions of compromised zombie machines to launch these spam campaigns," Sophos security consultant Carole Theriault said in a statement.

Among the most popular new scams were messages made to look like they had an MP3 music track attached to bypass spam filters. Instead, they contained recordings of a monotone voice encouraging investors to buy up obscure stocks, the report said.

Oleg Shaburov, a system engineer for Symantec, said spam from Europe now outpaced messages from North America.

"This could be attributable to the spread of broadband connections or an increase in spammers, or both." Shaburov said.