According to the Symantec State of Spam Report, the percentage of spam messages that claimed to originate from Europe is now significantly greater than the percentage of spam messages originating from North America. Approximately 44 percent of all spam email now claims to originate from Europe versus 35.1 percent claiming to originate from North America. This new trend has occurred and remained constant in each of the last three months, beginning in November 2007. When Symantec first started record- ing this data in August of 2007, 30.6 percent of spam originated in Europe while 46 percent originated in North America.
It should be noted, however, that the nature of spam and its distribution on the Internet pres- ents challenges in identifying the location of the people sending it. Many spammers redirect attention away from their actual geographic location. In an attempt to bypass DNS block lists, they use Trojans to relay email, allowing them to send spam from sites in different geographic locations. Therefore, the region in which spam originated may not always correspond with the region in which the spammers are located.
This sizeable increase in spam appearing to originate from Europe is significant but not alto- gether surprising when you consider the massive growth of broadband users in Europe in the last few years. The OECD report published June 2007 notes that while the United States has the highest number of broadband users at 66 million, Europe holds six out of the top ten coun- tries for broadband users in the world. This phenomenal growth in percent spam originating in Europe may also be considered when you look at countries ranked by broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants – European countries take eight of the top ten places.