Irish Examiner-Majority of emails ‘suspect’ – 31st October 2008

A recent survey shows that one in 15 emails over a 30 day period were legitimate. Maildistiller, an email filter company, has recently published its own October 2008 Spam Index, which analysed email trends and issues for mail filtering over the past 30 days.

The top three spam categories that were found were fraud, phishing and health, closely followed by adult content and jewellery. They highlight that fruadsters are using current concerns regarding the banking system to attempt to deceive customers into parting with their personaland financial information.

Maildistiller’s chief executive Ian Jeffers, said: ” The low level of legitimate emails points to an  increasingly hazardous email environment for personal and corporate email users. ”

Users still face problems with regards to viruses and other threats on a daily basis even though there is a range of software out there to tackle the problem. Businesses and the individual must try to combate this increasing problem.

 Maildistiller finished trails for its illicit image detection service, Image Analyser. This software is an extension of its managed service to protect companies from spam and viruses.The company has a research and development centre in Northern Ireland, Science Park, and is currently ahead of schedule for commercial launch.

Research has shown that 27% of companies have battled sexual harassment claims as a result of employee misuse of corporate email systems. This new software is to be used by the company’s Image Analyser and will be able to scan emails and attachments coming in to and out of the company’s email system and stoping those that it detects to be illicit.

Maildistiller has an aim of becoming one of the top 5 managed email filitering companies and is currently the largest provider in Ireland and filters on average 1.5 million emails every day.

Since the credit crisis there has been an increase in phishing during September and October, with a 103% increase, targeting mainly banks, credit unions and online retialer sites. Scammers are taking an advantage of the frenzy around the mergers and bailouts by targeting large banks like RBS, Bank of America and Lloyds.

MessageLabs is a US provider of messaging and web security to businesses worldwide. They intercepted 7,000 phishing attacks towards Bank of America, which doubled the next day. Mark Summer, the chief security analyst of MessageLabs, said, ” It’s crucial that everyone is aware of potential threats and is educated on how to avoid falling victim to them.” 

SonicWALL, another internet security company, saw the first phishing messages to hit the inboxes related to the banking-related crisis. Scammers were asking customers to verify personal information on theirselves using a false Chase Manhattan website.

Andy Klein of SonicWALL said: ” Banking customers will see a series of phishing emails asking for personal and finaicial details over the coming months and it is imperitive to stay alert during this period of uncertainty.”

Indentifiying phishing emails can be seen when an email will direct a customer to a website that will look identical, at a glance to their own banks website. If a customer enters the site and their own personal information, the bogus website is programmed to send this on to other sites with phisher controls. This information can then be transfered around different sites in a multi-layered concealment from law enforcement agencies.