Did you realize that over 4.5 billion individuals worldwide use email, with nearly 80% of companies relying on it as their primary means of customer acquisition and retention? With such staggering numbers, it’s unsurprising that hackers and scammers are constantly seeking ways to exploit this widespread communication tool.
These malicious actors employ tactics such as unsolicited emails, malicious links, and more to infiltrate your network and pilfer your personal information, files, and other valuable assets. Proactive measures are crucial to safeguard against becoming their next victim.
In this article, we’ll delve into five of the most prevalent email threats that impact individuals across various roles and industries on a daily basis. Additionally, we’ll provide valuable advice and solutions to mitigate each threat.
Let’s commence with one of the oldest and most exasperating threats: spam. Spam entails unwanted or unsolicited messages promoting various products and services, with the majority being fraudulent. Some even conceal Trojans and other viruses disguised as attachments or links.
These emails inundate inboxes with worthless content that offers no value to professionals, consequently squandering their time and hampering productivity. To appreciate the scale of the spam threat:
Statista reports that over 60% of email traffic volume is comprised of spam.
Mailmodo disclosed that a single spam email generates nearly 0.03g of carbon monoxide, leading to an astonishing 4.5 tons of CO2 emissions in 2021.
Less than a quarter of spam emails are legitimate, with approximately 73% being phishing emails, and the remaining 2.5% being fraudulent.
Regrettably, there is no foolproof way to eradicate spam from your inbox. However, you can shield yourself by taking actions such as reporting, blocking, and deleting suspicious emails, and implementing third-party email filters like SpamTitan, Xeams, Spambrella, among others.
2. Spoof Emails
Spoofing is a prevalent email marketing risk rampant on the internet today. Scammers and hackers employ spoof emails to impersonate reputable brands, luring recipients into divulging personal information or making purchases on counterfeit landing pages linked within these emails.
Proof Point reports that almost 3.1 billion domain spoofing emails are dispatched globally every day.
Approximately 25% of professionals and businesses encounter B2B spoof emails on a weekly basis.
Regrettably, the primary defense against the perils posed by spoofing emails is vigilance. This involves straightforward practices such as relying on trustworthy brands for products and services, scrutinizing links by hovering your cursor over them to unveil the actual URL, and corroborating the contents of branded emails by directly contacting the businesses involved.
3. DDoS and Botnet Attacks
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, frequently leveraged for massive spam and phishing campaigns that can overwhelm systems, often employ internet-connected botnets. These attacks manifest when perpetrators gain access to IP addresses, making the use of free VPN software, which facilitates anonymous email usage and browsing, one of the simplest strategies to prevent them.
Secure List reports that over 78,000 DDoS attacks targeted US firms alone in Q2 2022.
Nearly 70% of organizations face 20-50 DDoS attacks each month.
Phishing, a prevalent email threat since the early 2000s, employs social engineering tactics and other schemes to deceive individuals into divulging personal information that can lead to monetary losses, data breaches, or identity theft.
A 2021 Tessian study reveals that employees receive an average of about 14 phishing emails per year.
Cisco’s 2021 Cybersecurity Trends Report discloses that nearly 86% of organizations witness at least one employee clicking on a phishing link.
Phishing attacks are preventable with vigilant practices such as refraining from clicking on suspicious links or pop-ups, abstaining from sharing information on non-HTTPS secure sites, and remaining cautious when encountering dubious offers.
5. Business Email Compromise (BEC)
The prevalence of BEC attacks has surged tenfold since the onset of COVID-19, primarily due to the increasing number of people working from home. These attacks, resembling phishing, exclusively aim to pilfer funds from businesses. Perpetrators impersonate high-ranking executives and other titles, coercing employees into creating counterfeit financial records and accounts.
According to Id Agent, nearly 77% of businesses encountered BEC attacks in 2021.
The FBI reported over $2.4 billion in BEC-related thefts in 2021.
Mitigating BEC attacks entails confirmation via alternative communication channels, such as phone calls, and meticulous scrutiny of email addresses for typographical errors. Employing paid business email accounts and implementing multi-factor authentication represent optimal strategies to defend against BEC assaults.
Honorary Mention: Malware
Malware, the final threat on our list, is disseminated with a singular objective: to disrupt business operations. Hackers employ links, pop-ups, and email attachments to deceive victims into installing ransomware, adware, and spyware.
According to Phishing Box, almost 46% of businesses and professionals receive malware-laden emails.
Approximately 1 in every 100 opened emails contains malware, as per Cleard In.
To protect against malware, businesses should maintain effective anti-malware software on their devices at all times. Being vigilant for suspicious files, peculiar URLs, spelling errors, and implausible offers when using email is essential.
Now that you’re acquainted with the six most menacing threats faced by email marketers, you are better equipped to adopt proactive measures for protection. Email marketing remains a dominant force in the business world, making it crucial to comprehend cybersecurity threats and employ preventive measures effectively.