The amount of spam email people receive fell to a 12-year low in June 2015, but that doesn’t mean all news on the cyber front is good, according to Symantec’s Intelligence Report for the month.
The company that’s dedicated to ferreting out malicious cyber activity says the bad guys are simply moving onto other areas of the threat landscape to launch their attacks.
Symantec’s intelligence report draws data gleaned by the company’s Global Intelligence Network.
This network is comprised of more than 57.6 million attack sensors and is capable of recording thousands of events a second. The network is designed to monitor threats in more than 157 countries across the globe.
The Good News
The good news for the month, as Symantec pointed out, is that spam rates have decreased to 49.7% in June, which is the first time the rate has slipped below 50% in more than a decade.
Spam rates have not been this low since September 2003, the company’s report stated. Coinciding with a drop in spam, Symantec also noted declines in the phishing and malware from emails rates for the month of June.
Targeted attacks also seem to be down against those in the manufacturing industry. The rate dropped from 41% in May to 22% in June.
Even so, Symantec noted that manufacturing firms remain the leaders in drawing targeted attacks. The manufacturing industry is seconded by those in the finance, insurance and real estate sector.
The Bad News
While email users can rejoice as the amounts of spam in their inboxes continues to fall, Symantec says other disturbing trends are beginning to arise.
For example, while phishing and email-based malware attacks were down in June, the company logged more than 57.6 million new forms of malware. This was an increase from May’s 44.5 million new forms of malware and April’s 29.2 million variants.
“This increase in activity lends more evidence to the idea that, with the continued drops in email-based malicious activity, attackers are simply moving to other landscapes,” the report noted.
Those landscapes include an intensified focus on ransomware attacks, which increased to 477,000 in June. The levels still don’t rival those seen in 2014, the report notes, but a rise in ransomware attacks has been witnessed over the last two months.
Ransomware is malicious software that is designed to block access to a computer and its files. Those whose computers have been taken “hostage” receive demands for money or particular actions, such as completing surveys.
Performing the actions may or may not enable the restoration of the PC. Microsoft recommends computer users install and use antivirus software and keep their programs updated to prevent such attacks.
The bottom line on the cyber front is that while there’s good news for those who hate spam, attackers are not giving up. They are simply moving on to greener pastures.