Media releases are provided as is by companies and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the company itself.

Email Attacks Get Personal According To The MessageLabs 2004 Email Security Report

  • 07 December, 2004 08:58

<p>Phishing attacks or online identity theft has established itself as the principal threat of 2004, and may signal the beginning of a wave of email security attacks targeted specifically at individual or small groups of companies. This puts businesses firmly on the front line in the fight against online attacks, according to the annual MessageLabs Intelligence Email Security Report for 2004 (*) released today by MessageLabs, the leading provider of managed email security services to business worldwide.</p>
<p>In September 2003 the company intercepted 279 phishing emails (containing a URL to a fraudulent website), by September 2004 that figure had significantly risen to over two million. During the course of 2004, MessageLabs intercepted over 18 million phishing-related emails.</p>
<p>The perpetrators of phishing attacks have also developed new techniques in order to increase their chances of success. Recently, phishing emails have been designed to capture online banking details automatically when a user opens the email, rather than when the user clicks on the URL link. Phishers have also attempted to dupe unsuspecting users into becoming middlemen for money laundering operations, by offering employment opportunities with legitimate organisations.</p>
<p>Spam and virus ratios have also risen since the end of 2003. In 2004 the virus infection ratio was 1 in 16, in comparison to 2003 when it was 1 in 33. The most widespread outbreak of the year was W32/MyDoom.A, which occurred in January. In addition, the percentage of email identified as spam in 2004 is 73 percent; whereas in 2003 it was 40 percent.</p>
<p>As well as the rise in phishing, virus and spam volumes, MessageLabs also witnessed tailored malicious activity ranging from Denial of Service (DoS) attacks targeted at blackmailing online gaming sites through to threats that send out child pornography in the name of a particular reputable organisation.</p>
<p>There is also evidence to suggest that Trojans and other malicious code have been developed during 2004 specifically to compromise particular organisations. MessageLabs expects this trend to continue.</p>
<p>“Email security attacks remain unabated in their persistence and ferocity. The major development of the year has undoubtedly been the emergence of phishing - in just twelve months it has firmly established itself as a threat to any organisation or individual conducting business online,” said Mark Sunner, chief technology officer at MessageLabs.</p>
<p>“We believe that the singling out of certain companies to be the victim of phishing attacks could signal the beginning of a wider trend. Already particular businesses are threatened and blackmailed, indicating a shift from the random, scattergun approach, to customised attacks designed to take advantage of the perceived weaknesses of some businesses.”</p>
<p>As well as threats from targeted fraud, MessageLabs believes that the other key issue facing companies in the coming months will be pressure to comply with regulation. Already in place in a number of countries, laws surrounding financial reporting and disclosure of information require companies to have policies for monitoring, securing and storing all business transactions including email and instant messaging.</p>
<p>“Compliance is already a big issue, and many firms have yet to grasp the impact it will have on the administration, management and security of email. Failure to comply could not only result in potential legal problems, but threaten a company’s credibility and reputation as well,” added Mr Sunner.</p>
<p>“It is vital to ruthlessly evaluate email management solutions, and consider current and potential future regulatory requirements when deciding how best to ensure compliance.”</p>
<p>Notes to Editors:</p>
<p>The MessageLabs Intelligence Annual Email Security Report 2004 - for a copy, visit</p>

Most Popular

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?