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US takes top spot in spam distribution

Educators have expressed concern about Americans falling behind in tech fields, but at least there is one area in which the United States is still firmly on top. According to statistics from SophosLabs, the United States distributes more spam than any other country in the world, clocking in at a "respectable"18.3 percent of junk email sent.

The study tracked the amount of spam sent between December 2012 and February 2013. While the U.S. distributes the lion’s share of the world’s spam, other countries are by no means innocent of clogging inboxes worldwide. China took the second spot and India the third, with 8.2 percent and 4.2 percent of the world’s spam, respectively. Other high-ranking countries included Peru, France, South Korea, and Italy.

Although the U.S. distributes a record-breaking percentage of emails on behalf of Nigerian princes and male enhancement providers, these messages do not necessarily originate in the U.S. Many spam originators still hole up overseas and compromise user PCs in the States to do their dirty work.

Case in point: While the U.S. was the single highest-ranking country in the study, Asia topped the list of continents with 36.6 percent of the world’s spam accounted for. North America ranked third, with a relatively diminutive 22 percent.

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Since spamming is not necessarily a point of national pride, Americans can take steps to bump India, China or another likely contender back to first place for the next worldwide appraisal. Compromised user PCs are a huge avenue of spam distribution. In order to stop spammers cold, everyday users can keep their anti-virus software up to date, run regular malware checks, and update their hard-to-guess passwords on a regular basis.

It may seem un-American to root for another country to take first place in something, but this time, Americans are probably better off letting the dubious honor go to someone else.