Email Spam and Phishing is certainly not a new concept but, they are becoming more sophisticated. They are increasingly adopting an appearance of something that the recipient is familiar with – appearing like it is from a delivery company, social media contacts, banks, stores etc. The more familiar the content seems to the recipient, the more likely they would open it or click on the links within the email, which could lead to their system being infected.
The purpose of malicious spam is to make money, obtain sensitive information or spread malicious codes. Emails can contain links that would direct the reader to phishing or malware filled websites or they can contain mischievous file attachments – like CryptoLocker which surfaced in 2013.
CryptoLocker is often concealed within a fake delivery note attachment and once opened it would release Trojan RansomWare onto the system, encrypt the victim’s data and sell it back to them! Within a week over 10,000 people fell victim to it and months after its initial debut there are now reports from ThreatPost that it can infect Android devices now (don’t worry you have to download the APK file first!).
Email security is a cause for concern, in the Kaspersky Security Bulletin it suggests Corporations are increasingly falling victim to Cybercrime, 91% of those surveyed fell victim to a cyber-attack at least once in the last 12 months and the top causes included Viruses, Malware, Spam and Phishing. What’s more in 2013 alone Kaspersky Lab products detected a total of almost 3 billion malware attacks on end users computers!
However with the ‘Internet of Things’, where everything is connected, the sophistication of spam, malware and phishing attacks is not just limited to emails and the internet; in January it was found 750,000 spam emails were sent from compromised smart fridges.
Another example would be the US retailer ‘Target’ point-of-sale (POS) system was infected with malware; this caused as many as ‘40 million credit and debit card details and 70 million customers’ personal details stolen in cyber-attack. This POS malware attack caused both financial and brand reputation losses, with consumers avoiding the stores as they are worried causing sales to decline, a prediction of a 2% – 6% decrease for the quarter. Also, whether it is directly related to the data breach or not, Target stated in a press release there will be store closures in May.
Corporate victims of spam, malware, viruses, phishing most often than not, the motive is simple – to obtain business data. Emails are a quick and convenient communication tool and it is often misused as carriers of malicious spam – by having email security solution in place it can lower the risk of these attacks. But there are a lot of choices when it comes to email security in the market so choose carefully. It may seem trivial talking about email security but, emails can potentially be the door to your systems and data for cybercriminals. Be protected!