There is one field where Vietnam is second only to the United States, but it is barely worth celebrating: spreading unwanted emails across the globe.
Vietnam replaced Russia as the second-biggest source of spam in the first quarter of 2016, with the U.S. remaining on top of the list, software security firm Kaspersky said in its latest Lab Spam and Phishing Report on May 12.
India, Brazil and China completed the top five, which according to the report consists entirely of “large, fast-developing countries with high levels of Internet connection.”
In Q1/2016, Kaspersky Lab registered 56.3 percent of spam in the global email flow, a 2.9 percent decrease against the same period in 2015, when it accounted for 59.2 percent.
The U.S. covered 12.43 percent of all spam emails, maintaining its ‘leadership,’ while 10.3 percent of the unwanted emails came from Vietnam.
The respective numbers from India, Brazil and China were 6.19 percent, 5.48 percent and 5.09 percent.
Russia fell from last year’s second place to seventh (4.89 percent) in Q1 2016. It followed closely behind France (4.90 percent), which was the world’s sixth biggest source of spam.
The world's biggest sources of spam. (Click on photo to view full-size chart). Photo: Kaspersky
The report also discovered that spam messages are becoming shorter. In the first quarter, the proportion of emails up to 2 KB or below made up 80 percent of all spam.
According to the report, the first quarter saw the amount of spam containing malicious attachments increase dramatically. The share of malicious attachments in mail reached a peak in March – four times greater than last year’s average.
The rapid growth was caused specifically by the popularity of crypto-ransomware, which was either contained in emails or downloaded to computers via a Trojan downloader.
“This growth confirms our long-term forecasts on the gradual criminalization of spam that makes it even more dangerous, as well as the reduction in the overall share of email traffic,” Kaspersky commented.
The anti-virus company said spam has been taken to “a new level of danger,” thanks to the diversity of languages, social engineering, lots of different types of attachments, and text changing within a single mass mailing.
In conclusion, Kaspersky said it is unlikely that the amount of malicious spam will continue to grow so rapidly, because “the more cybercriminals distribute malicious spam, the more people get to know of its dangers and the more careful they become about opening suspicious attachments.”
“Therefore, such attacks will gradually fade after a few months,” the company said.
“However, there is the risk they may be replaced by other, even more complex attacks.”