Spammers Like Idaho Best of All

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No one is quite sure why, but Idaho now gets spammed a little more heavily than any other state in the U.S.

"Looking at the e-mail traffic that's being sent to business users in that particular state, 93.8 percent of all their e-mail traffic will be spam," said Paul Wood, a senior analyst with Symantec's MessageLabs group, which released research on the topic Thursday. "That's actually higher than the global spam average."

So far this month, the average spam rate, globally, is 86.4 percent, meaning that of every 100 messages that arrive at a company's e-mail server, 86 of them will be spam. The average business gets about 60 spam messages per employee per day, Wood said.

Other states that seem to be spam magnets are Kentucky, New Jersey, Alabama and Illinois. On the other end of the scale, Puerto Rico, Montana, Alaska, Kansas and South Dakota are now the least-spammed regions of the country. In Puerto Rico, 83.1 percent of messages are spam.

Spammers aren't targeting certain states, Wood said, but he noted that a couple of factors can make getting higher volumes of spam more likely. States with a lot of small businesses tend to get more spam per capita, he said. And workers in some industries, including marketing, recreation, engineering and real estate, are a lot more likely to be spammed than farm workers or public-sector employees.

Science and technology happen to be big businesses in Idaho, but the state may also just be a victim of bad luck when it comes to spam.

A year ago it was the 44th-most-spammed state. Asked to explain the jump to number one, Wood said, "The honest answer to that is, I don't know what would have changed specifically within Idaho."

The MessageLabs data is culled from Symantec's business customers and doesn't necessarily reflect the experience of home users.

If the amount of spam people receive really is just a matter of luck, it's starting to be spread around a little more evenly. Last year there was a 15.1 percent margin between the least-spammed and most-spammed states. This year, the margin is just 10.7 percent.

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