Email spam can potentially be worth thousands of pounds to those who can pull it off, so it should come as no surprise that email spam tactics look set to get more intelligent in 2017. Here we’ve outlined a couple of ways the spammers could be looking to clog up your inbox, or even take it over this year…

Hailstorm

There’s been a recent development in the structure of spam attacks; whereas spammers used to send a few messages over a long period – known as a snowshoe attack – they now send many messages over a short period. They do this to try and ensure some of the messages are delivered before any software you have in place to protect your inbox can be activated. These are called hailstorm attacks.

Spammers facilitate these attacks by using seemingly infinite numbers of sender IP addresses to bombard you with emails. It almost seems pointless blocking the senders as there are many more ready to send the same email again. To give you an idea of the scale of the issue, a snowshoe attack would typically result in thirty-five DNS queries in an hour, whilst new hailstorm spam attacks see queries surge to seventy-five thousand queries per hour.

This spam is sent from all over the world, and sadly the UK is in the top five places that send the highest number of these emails. Originally, the emails purported to be selling familiar goods or services, but experts have warned that the hailstorm technique is also being used to spread malware and phishing schemes.

Events spam

2016 saw a trend for spammers focusing on sporting events as the subject of their deceptive emails, and this looks set to continue in 2017. The Olympic games and Euro 2016 were both targets, with spammers trying to con the receivers of these emails out of money and lead them to divulge personal details. They achieved this by concocting official-looking emails from imagined Olympic officials (for example), explaining that the recipient had won a cash prize in a lottery held from all email addressed on their database. Recipients were then encouraged to reply to the email and disclose personal information in order to receive their prize.

This same tactic has been widely deployed using other events as bait, such as political events and concerts. Historically, music events have been a favourite target for spammers who send emails advertising the last few remaining tickets to very popular, often sold-out shows and ask recipients to follow a link or reply with bank details in order to purchase these non-existent tickets. This fraud continues elsewhere on the internet, with scammers copying barcodes from photos of excited fans holding tickets to an upcoming event, allowing them to produce fakes to sell on.

The best way to protect your business against such scams is to install MailCleaner, which will filter out 99% of unwanted mail. Perfectly adaptable for either small or large businesses, MailCleaner will stop your inbox getting clogged and dramatically increase your defence against viruses.