Europe Tops the Global Spam Charts

Europe is the worst offender globally when it comes sending out unsolicited emails, accounting for 15% of worldwide spam, according to a new report from Proofpoint.

The security vendor claimed that, by comparison, other countries and regions accounted for single digit percentages.

Even so, there has been a decline in spam volumes to the point where levels are the lowest they’ve been since 2012, the firm claimed.

While this sounds positive on the face of it, the reality is that cyber-criminals are now concentrating on fewer campaigns but with more malicious intent, Proofpoint warned.

“What was lost in volume was more than made up for in maliciousness,” the report notes.

The most notable trend of the first six months of 2015 was the shift from malicious URL-based spam campaigns to messages with malware hidden in attachments. This has been driven by Dridex and other prolific botnets, the firm revealed.

There’s also bad news for IT managers, as spammers are increasingly shifting attention away from individual consumers to business users.

Major phishing lures include social media-based invitations and connection requests, order confirmation messages, and financial account warnings, according to Proofpoint.

The report had this:

“During the first six months of 2016, Proofpoint Nexgate social media security researchers found that the efficiencies gained in distributing malicious content via social media continue to make it an attractive channel for hackers and scammers.  A single phishing lure, malware link or spam message posted to a high profile corporate social media destination may be viewed by ten thousand or more potential victims.”

ESET security specialist, Mark James, argued that the only way to improve messaging security is through software, education and a better understanding of the task at hand.

“We need to have the right software in place to not only help us identify bad emails but also so we have a clear, tested backup procedure for when something does go wrong,” he told Infosecurity.

“A good, regularly-updated internet security product at desktop and server level should be deployed and monitored at regular intervals. Along with that, users need to understand how and where attacks come from.”

Employees need to be educated about the potential impact a successful attack can have on their organization, he added.

“Staff need to understand how these types of attack can directly affect the ability to trade and stay in business. It won’t just happen to someone else, and these days it’s not a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’ it will happen to a company,” James argued.

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