04 Sep 2013

Nearly One in Three People Open Dangerous E-mails despite Warnings

Some 30 percent of people confessed they wouldn’t refrain from opening e-mails even if they seemed suspicious, a TNS Global for Halon study finds, as reported by the PCWorld.

Of the 1,000 people who took part in this survey, one in 11 respondents admitted their systems had been infected after they mishandled a malicious e-mail attachment. The study involved adults in the US. Results show women are curious about e-mails with invitations from social networks while men are most vulnerable to offers of easy-money jobs, power and sex.

E-mails pretending to come from banks account for 15.9 percent of all malicious e-mail sent worldwide, while social media platforms make up for 15.2 percent and online payment services are 12.8 percent, according to a study by the Anti-Phishing Working Group. The same survey revealed that the first months of 2013 saw over 74,000 active phishing campaigns exploiting 110,000 hijacked domains targeting some 1,000 brands.

Phishing e-mails remain the weapon of choice for many scammers who use them to get into a network by compromising a single system via a spear phishing attack.  Today anyone - from high-profile targets such as military staffers, nuclear plant engineers, CEOs or government representatives to average citizens - can fall victim to a cyber-attack.

Attackers invest a lot of time in preparing an attack and pay extra attention to details to precisely target the attack. When people don’t take into consideration security warnings and open e-mails despite clear indications of foul play, crooks’ job becomes suddenly a walk in the park.