The US is still the worst country for sending spam email although China and Europe are catching up fast, according to the latest spam-relaying figures.
The statistics from antivirus company Sophos' network of "spam traps" show that almost a quarter of all spam (23 per cent) between January and March 2006 was relayed from servers in the US. Yet that is a significant decline from 2004 when almost half of all spam came from the US.
China accounted for 22 per cent, followed by South Korea on 10 per cent. The UK accounted for just two per cent.
On a per-continent breakdown, Asia is the worst offender, accounting for 43 per cent of all global spam sent, while Europe as a whole is now responsible for the same level of spam sent from North America (25 per cent).
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said in a statement: "Europe is in danger of overtaking North America as the second worst spam-relaying part of the world. A combination of technology, legal action, user education and international co-operation is needed to truly make spam a thing of the past."
The ongoing problem of spam email has led to the OECD group of industrial nations calling for governments and industry to step up their efforts to tackle spam on a global basis.
As well as greater international co-operation the OECD says governments need to establish clear, national anti-spam policies and give enforcement authorities more power and resources.
But educating the public is also key and the OECD says governments should run nationwide campaigns to raise awareness and include lessons on spam and internet security in computer courses in schools and for senior citizens.
Just this week the Australian Communications and Media Authority made its first successful prosecution using the country's anti-spam laws when a Perth-based spammer was found guilty of illegally sending more than 56 million spam emails in a year.
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