Symantec Says Idaho Leads U.S. in Spam

According to findings from Symantec's MessageLabs, Idaho tops the list of the most-spammed U.S. states. MessageLabs researchers say states with higher concentrations of small and midsize businesses generally fare the worst when it comes to spam.

Sometimes being No. 1 isn't all it's cracked up to be. In this case, Idaho is No. 1 in spam.

According to a report from Symantec's MessageLabs, Idaho tops the list of states receiving the most spam in September. It's quite a reversal for the state, which in 2008 ranked 44th in spam volume. Today, its spam rate stands at 93.8 percent of all e-mail traffic. This compared to the global spam rate of 86.4 percent.

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Coming in second and third are Kentucky and New Jersey, with spam rates of 93 and 92.8 percent, respectively. Ironically, like Idaho, those two states were among the least spammed states previously. This year, the U.S. territory with the lowest spam rate is Puerto Rico, coming in with a rate of 83.1 percent.

The areas hardest hit by spam are typically those with a higher density of small and midsize businesses. Likewise, the least-spammed areas are those with higher concentrations of large businesses.

Earlier in 2009, Symantec released a survey of 1,425 businesses around the globe that found many SMBs lack clearly defined security and storage goals. According to the survey, nearly 60 percent had not implemented endpoint protection, and 42 percent had no anti-spam solution.

"Some of the high spam levels seen across the [United States] can be attributed to the economic challenges experienced globally since the end of 2008 as well as Internet advancement including the high adoption of social networking," MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst Paul Wood said in a statement.

At the center of the activity are botnets. Between 4 million and 6 million computers across the globe are part of the massive botnets that now send out more than 87 percent of all unsolicited e-mail-roughly 151 billion messages a day.

"Spammers have taken full advantage of both the economic uncertainty of some and the trustworthiness of others for their own rewards," Wood continued. "Automated tools, resilient botnets and targeted spam campaigns are all part of the spammers' tool kit and they are constantly evolving these techniques to outsmart any effort to stop them. No state is immune to the affects of spam."

The other most-spammed states are: Alabama (91.9 percent), Illinois (91.6 percent), Indiana (91 percent), Massachusetts (90.9 percent), Pennsylvania (90.5 percent), Arizona (90.4 percent), and Maryland, North Carolina and New Mexico (90.3 percent).