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US health-care debate clogged world's inboxes

Pharma-spam cashes in

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When the US debates health care reform, the world's inboxes get clogged with health-related spam.

A recent report (PDF) by security firm MX Logic indicates nearly 70 per cent of spam in August was related to the topic of health. August was the month that saw the debate over proposals to reform US health coverage rage, as Congress broke up for its summer recess and senators and representatives held town-hall meetings with the public that frequently turned confrontational.

The US, meanwhile, held a slim lead over Brazil for being the country producing the most spam.

"By far, health care remained the most prevalent category of spam in August despite decreasing slightly from the previous month," the report said. "Additionally, there was a noticeable resurgence in the number of pharmacy spams that used single inline or attached images (aka - image spam)."

Health-care spam held a solid lead with 68.8 per cent of unsolicited emails. Miscellaneous offers accounted for 12.3 per cent, education 4.4 per cent, gambling 1.3 per cent, and foreign language spam only 1.1 per cent.

The report indicates gambling spam rose more than 50 per cent from 0.8 per cent in July, spurred by people's desire to make a quick buck in shoddy economic conditions.

"Overall spam volume (total number of spam messages) slowed slightly in August, dropping about two per cent. However, it's important to remember that spam volumes have increased fourfold over the last six months. Perhaps more importantly, spam levels (percentage of spam versus all email) inched up to 94.9 per cent of all email sent," the report said.

The US of A continues to lead the world in spam volumes with 13.3 per cent in August. Brazil was a shave away with 13 per cent, and India third at 5.6 per cent.

China meanwhile, who was ranked third last month, fell down to number six in August spam volumes. ®

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