UK internet users are being bombarded with 20bn unsolicited emails a day, making the country the third biggest target for spam in the world, according to a new report.
Conducted by US-based internet security firm IronPort, the report found the average UK internet user receives 300 spam emails a day, while 98% of all email traffic worldwide is now spam.
According to IronPort, the UK is now the third biggest target for spam behind the US and China, and has doubled the amount of unwanted emails it has received in the last year.
IronPort warns that users of social networking sites Facebook and MySpace are becoming a bigger target for spammers because of the amount of personal data available on the sites.
The company, which specialises in internet security products, said around 120bn spam emails are sent worldwide daily, while the UK has increasingly become a target for spammers because it is viewed as having a more affluent internet user population.
The report said more sophisticated malicious software or malware techniques, whereby spammers use software to infiltrate or damage a PC without the owner's knowledge, has meant the likelihood of computer users becoming a victim to viruses and malicious code had not diminished.
Meanwhile, IronPort estimated the global cost for companies stopping spam email to date could be as much as £10bn.
Paul Doran, spokesman for IronPort, said: "The UK represents not just a very large market, but also a very affluent market. This makes us a sweet spot for cyber criminals."
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