Spam drops below 50 per cent of email for the first time 12 years

19 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Email Spam Rates Dip Below 50 Percent.

While the classic penis-enlargement and Nigerian prince messages still creep into your daily mail, most folks are likely to find emails pushing Lasik eye surgery, online nursing degrees, and auto insurance.

The latest figure comes from security firm Symantec’s June 2015 Intelligence Report, which notes this is the first time in over a decade that the rate has fallen below 50 percent. Or perhaps quarrying and excavating: At 56 percent, the mining industry took the award for highest spam rate during May, topping its previous performance of 55 percent. Law enforcement, along with companies including Microsoft, have aggressively gone after some of the largest botnets over the last few years and worked to technically shut them down. It’s not all good news though as there were 57.6 million new malware variants created in June, up from 44.5 million pieces of malware created in May and 29.2 million in April.

At one of the peaks of the spam epidemic, in June 2009, 5.7 trillion of the 6.3 trillion messages sent were spam, according to past data from Symantec. This increase in activity suggests that, with the continued drops in email-based malicious activity, attackers are simply moving to other areas of the threat landscape. Symantec also reported spam rates by organization size, and you might be surprised to learn that smaller companies—those with one to 500 employees—are most likely to shower you with straight-to-the-trash emails. Improved filtering and blocking also means that fewer unsolicited marketing messages reach inboxes where people might click on a message to buy a product.

The decline of spam is usually attributed to legal prosecution against botnets (including by major tech companies like Microsoft), faster reaction times by network providers, improved blocking, and better filtering. That’s not to say spam is going to completely stop, but as the cost of entry into the spam business rises and the likelihood of a return falls, it’s less of an incentive. Manufacturing still comes out on top in terms of sectors being subjected to targeted attacks, but the activity is now in line with what is being seen in the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate sector and the Services — Professional sector, which come in at second and third place. The news comes after Google last week introduced Gmail Postmaster Tools, which lets qualified high-volume senders—e-retailers, crowdfunding sites, governments, etc.—analyze their email, including data on delivery errors, spam reports, and reputation. On social media 83 per cent of threats relied on users to spread them by sharing videos, offers and other messages. 11 per cent tried to get users to join fake groups in order to expose their details to hackers, five per cent used ‘likejacking’ to get users to click fake website buttons that install malware and may post updates on a user’s newsfeed.

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world.

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