An e-mail monitoring firm has reported that more than 95 per cent of e-mail is junk and less than 4 per cent is legitimate traffic.
E-mail security firm Return Path said 99 per cent of the computers it monitors have been taken over by spammers or virus writers.
Return Path reached its estimate by calculating a 'reputation score' for the 20 million Net addresses of those machines. The root cause of spam is the existence of an ever-growing and strengthening network of 'botnets'. Majority of Net addresses are not good Net citizens, said George Bilbrey, spokesman for Return Path.
A miniscule 1 per cent of Net addresses could be said to be legitimate sources of mail.
Matt Peachey, regional director for IronPort, which monitors about a quarter of all mail sent across the Net, said its research revealed that about 80 per cent of e-mail came from compromised hosts. He added that on average only 10 per cent of e-mail was legitimate.
"Perhaps the reality is that the statistics can't be reduced any further unless US home users take action to secure their computers and put a halt to the zombie PC problem," BBC quoted Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.
The United States and China take the number one and two spots for number of Net users, with the US sending out 23 per cent and China 20 per cent of junk e-mail.
Next in the list come South Korea (7.5 per cent), France (5.2 per cent) and Spain (4.8 per cent). The United Kingdom was tenth with 1.8 per cent. -- ANI