Spam has been a constant concern for computer users since at least the mid-90s. Early spammers would send out advertising and other unsolicited messages from their own email addresses. While annoying, these emails were easily identified and blocked.
In the ensuing years spam techniques evolved, senders learned to spoof their information to mimic more credible sources and thus evade easy detection. This allowed cyber criminals to execute mass email campaigns where they would blanket thousands of people with virus-ridden attachments and malicious links.
Email providers reacted by implementing more advanced filter systems that could weed out suspicious addresses and remove them before they ever reach users. Law enforcement agencies moved to shut down major spam distribution hubs such as SpamIt.com to cut these groups off at the source.
These strategies proved so effective that Bill Gates felt confident enough to state that spam would be solved within the next couple of years. A 2015 Symantec survey revealed that spam email levels had declined to a 12-year low, with less than 50% of emails classified as junk. Those advances proved short-lived: Today spam is back, and it’s more difficult to deal with than ever before.
How Spam Has Evolved
Recently, cybersecurity firm F-Secure released a study showing the variety of spam techniques used to infiltrate secured networks, from dating scams (46% of all spam emails) and malicious attachments (23%) to spoofed email addresses that redirect users from legitimate websites to malicious portals (31%). According to researchers, email has become the prime attack vector for cyber criminals because traditional exploits have become are increasingly ineffective.
Recent software updates have shut down tried and tested malware delivery channels such as Adobe Flash browser plugins while ever-advancing antivirus tools have made it difficult to exploit personal and corporate networks through more direct methods.
Together, these techniques combine to increase the chances of a successful attack by up to 16.5%. Click rates have risen from 13.4% at the end of 2017 to 14.2% in just half a year which shows just how effective spammers have been.
Emails Are Not the Only Attack Vector
At Smadatek, we have learned that email is far from the only spam delivery channel. Cyber criminals are targeting their victims through a variety of platforms.
Need Help Combating Spam?
Our IT support professionals here at Smadatek can help your business detect and filter malicious spam through social media, email, and other digital platforms. Contact us today, to take advantage of our extensive expertise.