Africa is now the source of 3.6 billion spam emails per day, or 3 percent of the world’s email spam. That raw number of spam email is up 50 percent, or 1.2 billion more messages per day than a year ago.

That’s one of the consequences of faster broadband access available in parts of Africa, particularly since a new undersea fiber-optic cable has been strung along Africa’s east coast. During the first half of 2009, an 8,400-kilometer cable was laid on the seabed from Egypt to South Africa, greatly improving bandwidth on the continent.

Symantec’s MessageLabs division reports that Africa’s share of spam has grown from 2 percent a year ago, a significant hike in spam output. That’s one of the data nuggets in the Symantec MessageLabs Intelligence Report on malware.

The report also says that Soccer World Cup-themed spam email has seen a significant rise. One recent attack disguised itself as a well-known U.S. soft drink brand, but it had in fact been sent from an internet address in the Macau region of China.

Symantec also said that nine out of 10 spam emails now contain a web link in the message. In May, 5 percent of the domains found in spam URLs belonged to genuine web sites. Botnets, which are herds of computers that have been taken over by hackers, are still generating lots of cyber attacks. The Rustock botnet has the greatest number of disposable spam domains, while the Storm botnet remains big too. About 65 percent of spam from the Storm botnet users a legitimate domain.

Roughly 90 percent of all email traffic in May was spam, up 0.3 percent from April. About 0.473 percent of email messages contain a virus. About one in 237.1 emails, or 0.42 percent, contains some kind of phishing attack, where the sender is trying to scam someone out of their identity data.

Hungary is the most spammed country, with 95.4 percent of email being spam, compared to 90.5 percent in the U.S. and 89.4 percent in Canada.