The rate of spam emails is falling, according to Symantec’s June Intelligence report. This is the first time in more than a decade that the email spam rate has fallen below 50 percent, with spam emails representing 49.7 percent of all emails sent in June.

Whilst this figure might seem high to most people who find the occasional spam email in their inbox – many more usually make their way into their spam folder without users realising – it is actually the first time since 2003 that spam emails were ‘in the minority’, the report claims.

It is, however, important to understand that these figures are an average based on data collected over a broad range of industry sectors, with the mining industry the recipient of far more spam emails than other industry sectors. However, the overall percentage of spam emails received in June was down on previous months, if only slightly in most cases.

But the reduction in spam emails isn’t the only good news the report from Symantec brought us this month. Reports of mail-based malware and phishing were also down on the previous month, though the fact that 57.6 million new malware variants were created in this month – up from 44 million in May – was seen as a notable sign that cyber criminals were still casting their nets into digital seas, albeit from diverse and different vessels.

This is most notable in the increased occurrence of what are known as ‘ransomware attacks’, a particularly dangerous variety of cyber-attack that has risen in frequency in recent years. Ransomware attacks infect computers and then demand a ransom from the owner to remove the debilitating infection. According to the Symantec report, the number of ransomware attacks is on the rise, with more than 477,000 detected by the company during June this year.