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US and Belarus top the “Dirty Dozen” of spam senders

Sophos has charted the top countries in the world for spam, totting up its quarterly "Spampionship" for the first few months of 2014. The company has compiled a "dirty dozen" list of countries responsible for churning out the illegal stuff.

Despite this being the sort of league that nobody wants to win, topping the pile doesn't necessarily mean that a country sends the most spam. To avoid the law and any form of tracking software, spammers co-opt third parties, said Sophos in its blog post, using malware-infected computers known as zombies to send the spam on their behalf.

The team compiled two tables for the amount of spam by volume and the amount by population. Unsurprisingly, the countries with the largest Internet infrastructures came on top for volume of spam: the US, Spain and Russia make up the top three with a combined 25.8 per cent of all spam.

Related: Tips for beating back the spam emails

The spam-per-capita table brings up more interesting results, as Belarus, Uruguay and Israel come on top. Belarus has held the top spot in this table for four quarters in a row, with 4.5x the US' output.

The silver lining for those in Belarus, however, is that that number has dropped dramatically from an overwhelming 27x that of the US in Q2 2013.

The biggest surprise, according to Sophos, is Spain, which launched into second place for the volume of spam sent and came seventh for spam sent per person.

France and Japan have also increased their spam output, as well as Israel, which has risen steadily up the rankings.

The UK is nowhere near the top 12 for either spam table.