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Spam emails are annoying, but they can also be dangerous. If your company isn’t prepared, malicious spam emails can represent serious cybersecurity risks that cost your organization thousands of dollars in damages.

Dangerous Spam Emails at an All-Time High

Nearly 85% of all emails sent are spam. And email spam costs businesses $20.5 billion every year. The shift to home-based work in a COVID and post-pandemic environment has made email more valuable than ever as a business tool. But, it has also createdSpam Emails = 85% of all emails | Learn how to stop them | GlacisTech opportunities for bad actors to take advantage of understaffed IT and cybersecurity teams who need to protect more devices with fewer resources.

So, how do you protect your organization against useless or downright malicious emails?

Keep reading for helpful information on how to stop spam emails before they can do any harm to your company.

 

Types of Spam Emails

Not all spam emails are created equal. Some can be downright costly. Here’s a brief description of common types of spam email and the dangers associated with each.

Spam or Junk Email

Spam or junk emails, technically speaking, are unsolicited and mostly irrelevant commercial bulk-sent emails delivered to your inbox. Spam emails are different from marketing emails in that the senders of spam emails do not have your permission to send you information

Junk email is frustrating for users, and it can negatively impact productivity. The majority of spam is from unsolicited advertising accounting for 36% of spam worldwide. Not too far behind is adult-related content, making up about 31.7% of all spam. Talk about wasting resources!

Spyware

We’re accustomed to seeing clickable links in emails- sign up now, subscribe for information, click to download…and so on. But sometimes, we get more than we bargained for when clicking. Spyware is malicious software that can be embedded in a link. Once clicked, hackers use the spyware to gain access to your computer or network for all sorts of nasty endeavors such as accessing your online banking information, capturing usernames and passcodes, mining personnel information, or even controlling your computer’s camera. Yikes! Spyware is sneaky also; you might never even know it has activated.

Ransomware

It’s as bad as it sounds. Ransomware is a kind of software that will lock out critical files in your network and then demand payment from your company. Much like spyware, ransomware can inadvertently be installed on your computer or network simply by clicking a link or downloading a file.

Ransomware can and has ruined companies. Ransom demands can be millions of dollars and, if unpaid, may mean the attacker deletes or permanently locks out the affected files. They can also leak them to the public.

More bad news –ransomware attacks are on the rise. In 2021, Mimecast found that 61% of organizations experienced a ransomware attack that led to at least a partial disruption of business operations. And, the cost of a ransomware victim organization is $133,000 on average.

Note: Malware is a term that includes many variations of spam, including spyware and ransomware mentioned above. Other variations can be just as dangerous, including computer viruses, trojans, adware, worms, file-less malware, PUP (potentially unwanted programs), or hybrids. To find out if your organization has been attacked or infected with any dangerous malware, sign up for a Worry-Free IT Risk Assessment to help identify and stop dangerous spam intrusions before they stop you.

Phishing

Phishing emails are a type of malicious email meant to trick the receiver into divulging sensitive information. According to the FBI, phishing is the most common type of cybercrime, with 96% of phishing attacks delivered through email.

In 2020, as many as 85% of all organizations were targets of phishing scams, with 75% of the attacks resulting in a successful attempt.

Phishing emails are extremely dangerous because the emails often look credible, and let’s face it – we’re all in a hurry these days and may not take time to verify the email source.

The most common goal for phishing scams is to retrieve valuable information such as:

  1. Credentials (passwords, usernames, PINs)
  2. Personal data (name, address, email address)
  3. Medical (treatment information, insurance claim data)

According to Symantec, the top 5 subject lines for phishing emails are:

  1. Urgent
  2. Request
  3. Important
  4. Payment
  5. Attention

Another reason why phishing scams are so dangerous is the cost to victim organizations. According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average breach costs organizations $3.92 million.

The Anti-Phishing Working Group’s Phishing Activity Trends Report breaks down the costs for a successful phishing attack to include:

  • Lost hours from employees
  • Remediation
  • Incident response
  • Damaged reputation
  • Lost intellectual property
  • Direct monetary losses
  • Compliance fines
  • Lost revenue
  • Legal fees

So, how do you mitigate the dangers of spam email? Keep reading for things your organization should do immediately.


How to Stop Dangerous Spam Email

Trying to stop all spam emails is difficult. But, there are things you can do now to protect your organization from the dangerous and costly results of malicious spam emails and cybercriminals.

Be Aware- Institute Employee Training

99% of malware attacks require human interaction to succeed. That said, educating employees is critical to mitigating the infiltration of malicious actions through email. Here are a few key points for reference:

  • Look at the sender’s address- do you know and trust the sender? Check the spelling and branding to ensure it is legitimate
  • Always inspect URLs in emails to ensure legitimacy by hovering over the link before clicking
  • Do not click links or load images from suspicious emails
  • Immediately mark suspicious emails as spam by moving to the spam folder – then delete
  • Do not sign up for anything from unknown companies – this includes newsletters, promotions, and offers
  • Use privacy settings in your email client to hide your email address on certain form submissions and email replies
  • Think twice before enabling a macro, opening or downloading a file

*See information on additional steps to protect individual emails from spam

Use Technology

  • Utilize your email client spam filters- most email clients have robust spam filters that can strip out malicious links from content and scan attachments
  • Include preventative measures by adding an email banner to assist the user in identifying phishing emails

Leverage Expert Support

Spam emails and cyberattacks of any kind represent a real danger in the digital age we live in now. Hackers are getting clever, and the gap between the average hacker and the least tech-savvy of your employees can be immense.

Does your organization have the resources needed to protect against malicious spam, ransomware, and phishing attacks? A 2021 report from ISACA found that over 60% of organizations may have understaffed cybersecurity teams.

Leverage the support of a trusted managed services provider to help assess your business’s security vulnerabilities.

 

If you’d like help keeping yourself safe, or have any interest in a worry-free IT solution, contact us! We can help protect your company and its employees from cyber threats and reduce the potential damage resulting from attacks.


Did You Know?

  • Bulk-mailing spam is a profession with third-party companies sending spam emails on behalf of product or service companies.
  • Spam senders earn on average $7,000 a day.
  • The US is home to 7 of the world’s top 10 spammers.
  • 80% of all spam in North America and Europe is sent by 100 spam gangs, which employ about 200 to 300 individuals.
  • The number one spam operation is based in Ukraine.

About GlacisTech

GlacisTech is a managed service provider (MSP) and managed security solution provider (MSSP) for small to medium-size businesses in the Dallas and North Texas region. GlacisTech helps businesses grow by providing innovative, state-of-the-art IT solutions that allow its customers to reduce network downtime, increase operational efficiencies, and cost-effectively scale their IT to meet the demands of their growing businesses.

GlacisTech’s suite of Worry-Free IT services includes managed IT, cybersecurity, virtual CIO, managed compliance & remediation, and cloud services.

Glacis Technologies, Inc

1130 East Arapaho, Suite 184
Richardson, TX 75081
24/7 Customer Support 469-522-2022
 ITsupport@GlacisTech.com

GlacisTech | Managed IT Service Provider | Dallas TX