While phishing and malware increased in the first quarter, spam levels stayed constant

eleven Report Finds Increase in Phishing Emails Disguised as PayPal, Amazon in Q1 2012

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Security provider eleven announced on Friday that results from its April 2012 email security report indicate that phishing emails increased by 169.6 percent in the first quarter of 2012. In the same quarter, malware emails increased by 83.7 percent.

These results come almost three weeks after eleven announced that 95.2 percent of German IT decision-makers believe that email will play a long-term role in business communication.

Web hosts have been offering more security solutions to customers recently as customers demand anti-malware tools. On Thursday, Canadian web hosting provider Cirrus Tech deployed ThreatSTOP across its entire network to protect its customers from malware.

According to the press release, phishing volumes increased by 152.9 percent in March 2012 alone. Phishing email made up 0.25 percent of total email in March, up from 0.1 percent in January.

Payment services and online stores were the primary focus of phishing in February and March 2012, targeting PayPal and Amazon customers. The email purporting to be from PayPal claimed that suspicious activity on the credit card registered with PayPal was detected. While eleven says alleged credit card and account blocks have always been popular phishing tricks, they are now increasingly coming not just from banks or credit card companies, but from providers such as PayPal or Amazon.

Regionalized phishing campaign trends continued in February and March, where emails in good German purported to come from regional companies. eleven says these factors increase the probability that users will open the emails, since they appear to be relevant to them.

Overall, eleven says phishing emails are being distributed in more targeted ways and are becoming more professional in design, requiring end-users to be more careful when opening emails.

Malware email accounted for 0.8 percent of email sent in March. Malware volumes increased in February by 252.8 percent and levels in March decreased slightly by 4.4 percent. Overall, malware email increased by 83.7 percent since December 2011.

The largest percentage of malware was sent from Italy, China, and India.

eleven says the most important source of new malware was Taiwan with 14.4 percent of malware, and Vietnam accounted for 8.9 percent of malware. Asian countries took four of the top ten spots in March for sending malware, and in terms of virus outbreaks, they took seven of the top ten positions.

eleven has its full report available on its website, and includes findings on email spam as well.

Talk back: Are these findings in line with what your customers are experiencing in terms of email security issues? What are you using to secure email for your customers? Let us know in the comments.

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