Research indicates email spam is still the most popular tactic for cyber criminals, a fact that has stood the test of time for 40 years.
With new technologies used across other channels being relatively effective, cyber criminals tend to opt for spam emails containing malicious links and attachments to scam websites.
The research, conducted by F-Secure, indicates there has actually been an increase in malicious emails which are remarkably genuine in appearance.
“Of the spam samples we’ve seen; 46% are dating scams, 23% are emails with malicious attachments and 31% contain links to malicious websites,” says Päivi Tynninen, Threat Intelligence Researcher at F-Secure,
Emails linking to scam websites or redirecting users to malicious websites are designed in a way that is so genuine, even the most savvy tech users have been fooled time and time again.
Online criminals are known for using a variety of techniques designed to increase click-through rates.
For example, emails are 12% more likely to be opened if they’re from a known individual or business, and 4.5% more likely if the subject line is free from errors. Link clicks also increase when there’s a sense of urgency, such as limited-time discount offers.
While the assumption seems to be that a younger demographic is savvier and more careful when it comes to online scams, research conducted by Get Safe Online indicates quite the opposite.
"Evidence from the report revealed just 40% of under 25s say they ‘carefully read and re-read all emails’, in contrast with two thirds (69%) of 55+ year olds who scrupulously check all online communication.
"Worryingly, half of under 25s (51%) even admit to regularly ‘replying to or clicking links in unsolicited or spam emails’ – despite it being a common technique used by phishers. However, older Brits are more cautious, with only a quarter ever replying to or clicking on links in suspect emails,' said Get Safe Online.
It seems the younger audience, who spend more time online and are more accustomed to sharing personal information, is a more fruitful investment target to online fraudsters.
Considering these recent findings, it would be wise to remind clients of the dangers present online, particularly in relation to email spam.
Share the Key Warning Signs with Your Clients…
- You receive an email, text of call requiring you to ‘validate’ your personal details by clicking a link/attachment.
- Unexpected pop-ups on your computer or mobile device asking you to run software.
- You receive a friend request from someone you don’t know.
- You’re unable to access your email or social media account, or can see this has been accessed from an unusual location.
- Money has been taken out of your account unexpectedly.
- Credit card has been declined.
- You have been sent bills, invoices or receipts from unknown businesses.