69% of Email in Canada is Spam, Study Finds; Country Fares Poorly on World Stage for Safe Email

by Knowlton Thomas | Research

Symantec has released the findings of its January Symantec Intelligence Report, and if it proves anything, it's that spam is still as prevalent as always. These days, Symantec says, spammers are taking advantage of the hype and cheer of holidays and major events in hopes of tricking more vulnerable uses.

“We also expect to see plenty of spam and malware taking advantage of some of the major upcoming sporting events this year. We are already seeing references to the Summer Olympics in London as part of 419 or advance fee fraud messages,” said Paul Wood, senior intelligence analyst, Symantec. “By relating their mails to widely celebrated holidays and current events with global interest, spammers and malware authors can (at first glance at least) make their messages more interesting, and increase the chance of recipients visiting spam Web sites or becoming infected,” Wood said.

The report revealed that 68.7% of email traffic in Canada is spam, only a hair's breadth below America's even 69%. Interestingly, spam is very consistent in countries across the globe: it accounts for 71% of email in the Netherlands, 68% in Germany, 69% in Denmark, and 69% in Australia. In fact, the widest spread is only about 8%—Japan clocks in low at 65.6% while Brazil clocks in high at 73.1%.

Symantec also found that one in 380 emails in Canada are phishing attacks. This form of dangerous spam varied much more widely across countries. Unfortunately, Canada is one of the most susceptible countries to phishing scams; in the U.S., only one in 1,145 emails are such attacks, and in Japane, one in 5,690.

Canada also fared poorly for email-borne malware, with one in 285 emails being malicious. This compares poorly to one in 480 in Singapore and one in 680 in Brazil.

Finally, Symantec found no substantial differences in spam, phishing attacks, and malicious emails for medium versus large businesses.

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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