The US is still a safe haven for spammers, with anti-spam legislation doing very little to thwart spammers and the McColo takedown having had only a short-term effect.
According to McAfee's December Spam Report, due to low-cost and reliable hosting and anonymous domain registration, the country remains the world's top source for spam.
The report also reveals:
* "Twitter job" spam, which has been going on for months now, is on the rise – it's a scam that tries to get people to create Twitter accounts and send spam to their followers for money.
* This season's Christmas-themed malware is focused on the recession, advertising fake luxury goods and brands that are "on sale" through e-mail.
* One year after the McColo effect, spam has risen beyond the levels before McColo was shut down.
* 1 January 2010 marks the sixth anniversary of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, but spam levels have reached record levels in the six years since the legislation passed.
* The CAN-SPAM Act says that you cannot use false or misleading header information and routing information must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
* You are legally responsible to monitor what others are doing on your behalf: for example – a company is legally responsible for the emails that are sent on its behalf promoting products and the company.
McAfee's advice on how holiday shoppers can stay safe? "Never click links in emails," says Adam Wosotowsky, anti-spam technology lead for McAfee Labs. "If you want to visit your favorite retail site, type the address directly into the address bar, since most legitimate sites will not force you to click links within e-mails to take advantage of their latest deals."