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Taiwan fingered as the hub of spam distribution

Botnet epicenter

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Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of servers controlling spam traffic are located in Taiwan, according to a survey by email security firm CipherTrust.

Such servers, used by internet low lives to relay spam and phishing emails through zombie, compromised PCs, are also commonly located in the US. The US accounts for 23 per cent of the machines identified on CipherTrust's spam server blacklist with China in a fairly distant third place (three per cent).

"Taiwan, the United States and China are all countries that provide inexpensive broadband access by providers that are slow to shutdown malicious accounts," CipherTrust comments.

CipherTrust obtained its figures after deploying a network of zombie-like machines across the world to gather intelligence on spamming operations. While machines in this "zombie honey pot" avoid relaying spam or phishing attacks to end-users, they collect messages from spammers trying to control them. By capturing these messages, CipherTrust is able to determine the location of the spam servers. Spammers themselves, of course, may be located somewhere completely different, such as Boca Raton, USA (for example).

During the last month, CipherTrust identified a 21 per cent increase in the number of new zombie computers and a 20 per cent rise in unwanted email traffic. ®

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