This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Cloud Computing Magazine.
Unsolicited email has always been a nuisance for both users and IT administrators. Recently, the intent of this type of email has taken a turn for the worse. What was once unwanted bulk mail, soliciting products,has turned into dangerous and sophisticated emails with the intent of stealing sensitive corporate data, costing businesses a substantial amount of time and money. Gartner (News - Alert) recently reported that advanced technologies must catch the last .5 percent of this advanced spam.It is imperative thatbusinesses stop malicious email before it reaches corporate networks.
Targeted Email Attacks – More Vicious and Damaging
Phishing attacks, spearphishing, advanced persistent threats and malware-tainted emails haveclimbed to an all time high. During the past year, 37 percent of mid-sized and large organizations in North America have had malware successfully infiltrate their corporate network through email. Many of these attacks have been extremely harmful to the corporation, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars, sensitive financial data and intellectual property.
Phishing Attacks Continue to Grow andInfiltrateCorporate Email
The RSA breach that occurred earlier this yearrevealed that even the most secure network could be vulnerable to attacks. Attackers sent an enticing HR email to employees, which resulted in a security breach that enabled hackers to use stolenintellectual property from RSA (News - Alert) to breach Lockheed-Martin.
This leads security systems to address multiple facets of an organization. If one layer is exposed it is easier for unauthorized users to use this exposed layer to further access pertinent information. While seemingly innocent, these corporate emails have brought down corporate networks around the world and many organizations are realizing that email security is essential in preventing malicious attacks.
Capture Rates Must Be Near Flawless
An email filter rate of 98 percent seems efficient enough, right? Wrong. A 98 percent catch rate enables 50 times more unwanted mail through than a 99.9 percent accuracy rate. Previously ignoredsusceptibilities must be addressed. Corporations must reduce their network attack surface if they hope to eliminate losses caused by compromised computer systems.
To the Cloud with Mail Filtering Technology
Technology must be able to filter that last percent of threatening spam and respond instantly to evolving threats. Large corporations and businesses must be wary of the determined adversaries that are rapidly changing and evolving their strategies. Defenses need to instantly respond to constantly occurring threats. Filtering email in the cloud combines the benefit of blocking malicious messages before it enters the network perimeter.
Newintelligent cloud-based services are available to fight the war against this malicious email. Major advances in anti-phishing, anti-spam and anti-malware can keep corporate email safe and secure by staying one step ahead of attackers, sidestepping older and outdated approaches such as volume-based reputation filters and signature-based content filters.In 2012, cloud users will experience predictive cloud protection that works where older systems fail, protecting the critical last one percent of spam. By integrating these new cloud-based systems into existing networks, the war on spam just got easier.
While the tech world thought the war on spam was ending, 2012 will see many more attacks, similar tothe breaches suffered by RSA, Facebook (News - Alert) and others. Today’semail phishing schemes are becoming worse as the nature of spam takes a dramatic and dangerous twist. When spammer meets hacker – and you add global organized crime or even hostile nations in the mix – unwanted and unsolicited email moves from nuisance to a serious security risk. Without proper defensive solutions in place, new and unforeseen breaches and major attacks will become a regular occurrence.
John Jefferies is general manager and chief marketing officer of Abaca.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi