One in 98 UK Emails Are Loaded with Malware

One in 98 emails received in the UK contained malware last year, with ransomware and shadow IT continuing to cause major headaches for information security managers, according to the latest Symantec data.

The security giant’s 2017 Internet Security Threat Report claims the rate for email-borne threats in the UK is much higher than the one-in-131 rate seen globally, which itself is a five-year high.

Ransomware is still a major threat to businesses globally, with Symantec noting a 36% increase in attacks last year and 100 new ransomware families released into the wild.

Part of the reason why they’re still proving a popular way for the black hats to make easy money is because victims keep on paying up.

In the UK, 41% of ransomware targets are willing to pay, compared to 34% globally, which could explain why the average ransom soared 266% last year from £229 in 2015 to £840, according to the report.

Shadow IT is also continuing to affect the email threat landscape.

Webmail accounts used for work were highlighted as a major security blind spot; one that has been exploited to devastating effect recently by the Russia-linked APT group Pawn Storm.

That group is said to have hacked Clinton campaign boss John Podesta’s Gmail account and leaked to the public via WikiLeaks and the invented “Guccifer 2.0” hacktivist.

Symantec claimed CIOs think their organizations use only 30 to 40 cloud apps, when in reality the average is 928. That lack of visibility means IT departments are flying blind, with accounts lacking adequate security policies.

“Employees or entire departments may be using cloud services that are expensive, redundant, too risky for business use, or do not meet compliance requirements,” Symantec argued.

“Get a Shadow IT cloud app risk report card for your organization. Quickly identify all SaaS apps used across the company, apps that pose a medium or high risk, and top five riskiest apps, users and location of these apps in an easy to share report.”

Elsewhere, the report claimed that the UK remained the seventh highest country in terms of attack source.

This isn’t surprising given the advanced nature of its internet infrastructure, which cyber-criminals are likely to gravitate towards, but proves there’s still much to be done to improve basic cybersecurity hygiene.

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