The Wonders of the Spam World

I mentioned in my recent cyber-security article that, despite all the news about internet threats coming from organizations or individuals in China, people who know the field do not consider China the number-one source of such attacks.

As I looked at the Gmail spam filter today I was reminded of the consensus pick as the world's leading source of cyber-crime and related activity (click for larger):


As a tech note for another time, it's interesting to think of the forces that could lead to this result, in which 14 out of 19 spam messages arrive in Russian. Is that much more spam really produced in Russia than anywhere else? I have always assumed that most spam is rejected by lower-level screening before it gets anywhere near the spam filter that users check for their email accounts. Is there an anomaly in the spam-filtering software that allows Russian спам to get past the early barriers and make it this far? I don't know but find the trends in spam interesting.

I kind of miss the Nigerians. I hope they're OK.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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