A new report on digital threats published last week looked at the cyber security trends of 2014 – in particular, the amount and type of email spam that users were receiving.

Unexpectedly, the overall volume of spam fell from January to December. Figures indicate that the daily volume dropped by 56% over the course of the year. This is great news especially when compared to 2013 when overall volumes increased by 16%.

The report did, however, note that the number of malicious emails still increased over 2014 despite the drop in volume. This trend occurred because:

  • Attackers made their URLs far more malicious
  • A greater number of harmful URLs were used

Overall, the average of malicious URLs in spam emails held around 10% for 2014. On more extreme days though, this rose to almost 40%.

Last year also saw a rise in the number of harmful attachments sent to inboxes around the world. Major surges occurred at the end of the year with offending attachments being mainly Word documents.

As for where these emails came from, the top five regions sending unsolicited mail throughout 2014 included:

  • EU
  • USA
  • China
  • Argentina
  • Russia

These trends drastically altered the list from 2013, pushing nations such as Vietnam, India, Taiwan and Mexico out of the top five spots.

In order to protect your computer from the increase in malicious emails, it is vital to install a professional spam filter for your business. Choose programs that offer predictive analysis and instant quarantine to stop malware in its tracks.

Additionally, an automated threat response that remains updated will help block the vast majority of unsolicited emails and therefore protect your business from identity theft, compromised systems and ransomware. Attackers are getting more malicious, stepping up their game, so it is important that business owners do so as well.