Is your email getting bogged down with Spam? Do you receive Phishing email? Let us help! We have become accustomed to seeing junk/spam email and phishing attempts that we continue on our day without giving them a second thought. That is, until we get caught in one of their traps and end up handing over sensitive information, downloading malicious files, or buying worthless products we saw advertised in an email we knew was too good to be true. In the age where data and information is always a click away, let’s look at some statistics.
Where is it coming from and where is it going?
Spam comes from all over the world. In the third quarter of 2013 18.4 percent of all spam was sent from the United States, 14.7 percent came from South Korea and 5.7 came from Taiwan. Russia and India were responsible for 3.9 percent and 3.7 percent respectively. Generally, servers that do not have strong enough passwords, are “open relays”, computers with viruses, or compromised web hosting sites can be sources of spam. The three largest targets of malicious emails are the United States at 11.8 percent, Germany at 11.4 percent and Great Britain at 8.1 percent. India is fourth at 6.4 percent.
Social media and spam
According to NexGate, social spam increased 355 percent during the first half of 2013. On all social media sites 1 out of every 200 messages is spam. Five out of every seven new accounts create are set up for the purpose of spamming other users. These spam accounts contact, on average, 23 other users. On Facebook alone, 1 in 7 posts contain spam content. Three percent of the spam on a page contains a link and 1.5 percent of the spam found on a Facebook page contains malware.
Despite previous headlines that bragged about spam volumes decreasing, phishing attacks and emails containing malicious file attachments have continually increased. Banks, and their customers, account for 79 percent of all phishing attacks. Larger financial institutions are targeted more frequently than smaller ones. Like spam, the United States leads in the number of attacks that target its population and brands with 28 percent followed by the UK that made up 10 percent. Canada, Australia, India and Brazil each made up 5 percent of the phishing volume.
In 2012, global losses due to phishing attacks totaled 1.5 billion dollars. This number was a 22 percent increase over 2011. Spam, on the other hand costs consumers and business an estimated 20 billion dollars per year. This cost represents monies spend on: fighting spam, lost productivity due to spam, money spent on illicit purchases due to spam and dollars that were spent and lost due to phishing emails as well. Malicious emails aren’t going anywhere. Spam is still used by scammers and legitimate businesses as an advertising platform and will continue to be used in the marketing of both legitimate and illegitimate products as long as people use emails. As far as phishing is concerned, it is still the number one attack vector used to compromise individual computers and accounts as well as breach corporate and government networks. Malicious emails work because they exploit the one constant in computer use; the user. Users are the same, no matter which operating system they use. People click and people download. Without the proper controls in place to keep emails out of the user’s Inbox and the ability for users to spot these emails and report them to the right people, malicious email will continue to be an effective tool for the cyber criminal.