The email and phishing threats faced by organizations today vary greatly in complexity, volume, and the impact they have on businesses and their employees. There are a number of distinct categories of email threats, two of them being Spam and Malware.
Spam is described as unsolicited, high-volume messages generally of a commercial nature, which are sent without regard to the recipient’s identity. Spam costs businesses about $20 billion per year in losses. It lowers productivity by flooding inboxes with junk mail and impacts server traffic to process messages. Spam can be used to distribute malware and in large-scale phishing attacks.
Malware is described as software specifically designed to cause damage to technical assets, disrupt operations, exfiltrate data, or otherwise gain access to a remote system. malware is usually distributed through email attachments or URLs leading to malicious content.
Spam is unsolicited bulk email messages, also known as junk email. Spammers typically send an email to millions of addresses, with the expectation that only a small number will respond to the message. Spammers gather email addresses from a variety of sources, including using software to harvest them from address books. the collected email addresses are often also sold to other spammers.
Spam comes in various forms. Some spam emails push scams while others are used to conduct email fraud. Spam also comes in the form of phishing emails that use brand impersonation to trick users into revealing personal information, such as login credentials and credit card details.
Impact of Spam
Spam costs businesses about $20 billion per year in losses. It lowers productivity by flooding inboxes with junk mail and impacts server traffic to process messages. Spam can be used to distribute malware and in large-scale phishing attacks.
Strengthening email defense against spam
Modern gateways are very effective at blocking spam; inline deployment of spam filters helps stop spam before it hits the inbox. API-based inbox defense isn’t as effective against these large-scale attacks. Voluminous attacks, such as spam, can overwhelm email servers and have an adverse impact on inbox performance, creating a large inbox load before being clawed back by APIs.
Common types of Malware Attacks
Cybercriminals use email to deliver documents containing malicious software, also known as malware. Typically, either the malware is hidden directly in the document itself, or an embedded script downloads it from an external website. Common types of malware include viruses, trojans, spyware, worms, and ransomware.
Impact of malware
94 percent of malware is delivered via email. With ransomware, one of the most popular forms of malware, cybercriminals infect the network and lock email, data, and other critical files until a ransom is paid. These evolving and sophisticated attacks are damaging and costly. They can cripple day-to-day operations, cause chaos, and result in financial losses from downtime, ransom payments, recovery costs, and other unbudgeted and unanticipated expenses.
In 2019, ransomware costs hit $170 billion. This number includes not only ransoms paid out but a loss in productivity, data and other damages caused the attack. The average amount of ransom more than doubled from $41,198 in Q3 2019 to $84,000 in Q4 2019.
There were many well-publicized ransomware attacks in 2019 on businesses and government organizations. In government ransomware attacks, local, county, and state governments have all been targets, including schools, healthcare, libraries, courts, and other entities.
Email defense against malware
Malware protection is best done at the gateway level before emails hit inboxes. Signature matching remains an important tool to detect and block most malware variants. However, there are more advanced techniques available for detecting zero-day threats. Sandboxing is one such tool: suspicious files and links are analyzed in an isolated test environment to make sure they are safe before being delivered to users’ inboxes. New malware signatures can be created based on sandbox analysis, to help prevent future attacks.
We can effectively protect you against these evolving email threats. Email attacks have evolved to bypass traditional defenses and require organizations to set up protection, not only at the gateway but also beyond it. Every business needs to deploy the right combination of technology and people to have effective email protection. Contact us at 502-267-2552 to learn more.