My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: @symantec's June 2015 Intelligence Report says Spam down 50 percent as Smartphones Hacking Rises

Sunday, August 9, 2015

@symantec's June 2015 Intelligence Report says Spam down 50 percent as Smartphones Hacking Rises

“We are in a constant arms race. With spammers continually coming up with new techniques that we have to deal with, and it would be hubris to declare victory”

Research Analyst at security company Cloudmark, Andrew Conway, commenting on Symantec's June 2015 Intelligence Report 

As I've long suspected, Mobile Social Networks are more engaging than email, as they do messaging in real time. This spells bad news for spammers and email marketing peeps, who must now find new ways to reach their potential client base.

At least, that’s the conclusion I've come to based on Security firm Symantec's declaration that we've entered a period of low spam email levels not seen in the past twelve (12) years since September 2003, as reported in the article “Spam email levels at 12-year low”, published 17 July 2015, BBC News

To be precise, accord to Symantec's Data, less than 50% of email in July 2015 are spam or even junk mail from email marketing peeps as can be done using Gmail as explained in my blog article entitled “How to use @Gmail to do Email Marketing - How to do Mail Merge using @GoogleDocs SpreadSheets and Gmail”.

So says Symantec's June 2015 Intelligence Report, which points out that the level of spam has been falling since 2010 as explained in the article “Spam email rate falls below 50 percent for first time in a decade”, published July 17, 2015 by Jeremy Kirk, PC World

So if the email marketing peeps, spammers and hackers who do phishing as described in my blog article entitled “Professor Marco Gercke warns of Scammers using Keyloggers for Spear Phishing - How to use Keyloggers and how to Protect yourself from Scammer's American Hustle for Fast Cash” are no longer using email, what's the replacement?

Symantec's June 2015 Intelligence Report - How the rise of the smartphone saw the Titan Fall of Email and Spam

Symantec's June 2015 Intelligence Report stats can be best explained with a simple graphic as used in the article “Symantec: Spam falls below 50% of all email for the first time since 2003”, published JULY 17, 2015 by Emil Protalinski, Venturebeat.

At the height of the spam epidemic in June 2009, the figures were staggering:

1.      6.3 trillion email messages were sent 
2.      5.7 of those email messages were spam
3.      90.48% of email sent was spam

The last time such low figures have been seen was Twelve (12) years back in September 2003, before smartphones were invented. Then it peaked by 2010, which coincidentally was the same year that the Apple iPad was launched and Google Android smartphones became a popular alternative to the Apple iPhone.

Now fast-forward to 2015. According to Symantec as of June 2015:

1.      704 billion email messages were sent 
2.      353 billion of those email messages were spam
3.      49.7% of email sent was spam

By July 2015, the spam figures were trending downwards:

1.      25 billion email messages were sent 
2.      11 billion of those email messages were spam
3.      46.4% of email sent was spam

Before that, the percentage of email that was spam has been on the decline:

1.      52.1% in April 2015
2.      51.5% in May 2015
3.      49.7% in June 2015
4.      46.4% in July 2015

But the stats get more interesting when you consider what these figures mean. It suggests that the spammers began targeting smartphones and Tablets in 2010 and are now intensifying their efforts as smartphones become more widespread in use, even in the UK based on stats from OfCom as reported in the article “Britons 'love smartphones and selfies'”, published 6 August 2015 by Zoe Kleinman, BBC News.

Engineering people the main targets of Hackers - Ransomware and crypto-ransomware on the Rise

The following table breaks it down even further into the various Sectors of Work in the US of A, with Mining receiving the Lion's share of spam emails as noted in the article “Spam Email Rate Falls Below 50% For First Time In 12 Years, Report Says”, published 7/20/2015 by Rex Santus, Forbes

Guess that comes with being an Engineer, as they do make a lot of money based on the statistics from NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) as reported in my Geezam blog article entitled “Why Technology Companies are Seeking Engineers”.

Interestingly, while email spam was on the decline, other malicious attempts at hacking via phishing were on the rise:

1.      57.6 million new malware variants were created in June 2015
2.      44.5 million new malware variants were created in May 2015
3.      29.2 million new malware variants were created in April 2015

Ransomware and crypto-ransomware has been increasing since December 2014 as hackers are starting to switch their tactics to catch unsuspecting persons as noted by Symantech Analyst Ben Nahorney, quote: “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 areas of the threat landscape".

Meanwhile email usage overall has been falling as more people go the Social Media and IM (Instant Messaging) route to communicate as the stats from Socialbakers suggests in my blog article entitled “@socialbakers trend of @Facebook Video – @YouTube ditched for Facebook’s Social Media Garden and Twitteratti Twitter”.

Hackers turned it up a Notch - Hacking Smartphones and Tablets for their Personal Information Goldmine

In other words, the recent StageFright vulnerability would have been a god send to hackers, as it would mean they could switch to hacking smartphones remotely as explained in my blog article entitled “Security Firm Zimperium reveals StageFright Bug - Why Automated Video Playback in @Google @Android is a Hacker's Thermonuclear War”.

Ditto too the Mozilla Firefox's PDF Viewer vulnerability that would have made almost every computer running a Firefox browser hackable as reported in my blog article entitled “Mozilla Firefox's PDF Viewer vulnerability - How to hack Mozilla @Firefox Browser and How to prevent the Firefox PDF Viewer Vulnerability”.  

More reasons for me to dislike smartphones, especially as I already dislike their ability to track you as pointed out in my blog article entitled “The Reason why I don't like Smartphones - Location Privacy and How to disable Location Services on Android and iOS”.

Hackers are definitely switching their tactics; they're targeting more smartphones and fewer computers as that's where the real information goldmine is waiting to be stolen.

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