Beware your email. In the last six months, the number of phishing email scams has increased 1,200 percent, putting end users and major companies at an even greater risk of theft and damage, according to a new study.
MessageLabs reports that last September its analysts had only seen 279 phishing emails. But that number had risen nearly 800-fold to 215,643. Phishing emails peaked in January with 337,050.
''It's a very dangerous trend,'' says Paul Wood, chief information analyst at MessageLabs. ''It's preying on people's vulnerabilities. They're being conned into downloading viruses or giving away their financial information... Some people are having a lot of money siphoned from their bank accounts.''
Worst Security Problem: Attachments
Security policies and education aren't enough
Want to ruin a security manager?s day? Open an attachment?any unknown attachment will do.
According to a written survey of 200 IT and security managers conducted by Watchguard Technologies at this year?s RSA Conference, about half of all IT managers say the worst security offense a user can commit is opening an unknown attachment.
Opening unknown attachments, of course, is exactly what can launch Microsoft Word and Excel macro viruses, viruses, and worms, as well as Trojan horse software. Given the prevalence of viruses and worms, it?s obvious many users do indeed double-click that attachment. In fact, about 80 percent of respondents indicated a virus had also gotten loose on their network within the last year. Many would be traced back to ill-advised attachment opening.
Of course, if organizations just adjusted their security policies to prohibit opening unknown attachments, or having IT take a look first, then educated users, the problem would go away, right?