A Sharp Increase in Email Threats

Message Labs latest intelligence report shows a sharp increase in viruses, spam and email threats, which now stand at record levels. Over one in fifty emails now contains malware, generally through a link to a site that installs it when opened. More than one in ninety mails contains a phishing attack. And viruses have doubled since the Spring to levels not seen for 18 months.

A major factor behind the increases is the Storm botnet, which created a fair amount of havoc in August. But it all demonstrates the unexpected nature of today’s threats. They can grow rapidly and decrease just as fast. Statistics provide little indication of future levels of activity. So business cases for new defensive measure should not be built on historical incident levels alone. Security functions need to be agile, always prepared for a steep rise in threats. With Christmas approaching it’s a timely reminder for everyone to sharpen up their incident response.