Over 97% of all email is ‘unwanted’

Microsoft Security Intelligence Report finds messages are either spam, have malicious attachments or are phishing baits

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  April 9, 2009

A new security intelligence report from Microsoft states that more than 97% of all email is unwanted.

These unwanted messages are either spam, have malicious attachments or are used as phishing baits by cybercriminals to steal valuable information such as credit cards, user IDs and passwords.

While most modern email and instant messaging programs are configured to block the transmission of potentially dangerous files by extension, attackers are using common file formats such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf) as transmission vectors for exploits.

These formats are used legitimately by people every day and can’t be blocked, making them an attractive target for malware creators.

A section of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report also examined security breach incidents around the world and found that stolen equipment, such as laptops, was the most common reason for data loss. Together with lost equipment, these two categories account for a full 50% of such incidents.

Interestingly, security breaches from hacking or malware incidents were responsible for only 20% of all data loss occurrences reported.

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