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The massive surge in cybercrime incidents in 2016 has a few old favorites to thank for their statistics. Both spam and adware – two threats that have seemed all but gone since 2010 – are back with a vengeance, with nearly triple the number of incidents recorded in 2016 compared to numbers from the previous five years.

With an estimated 65% of all corporate email now being reported as spam, and 8% of that spam being malicious, it’s more important than ever for businesses to keep a close eye on their network security measures. Cybercriminals are adopting a wider range of attack vectors, some of which your current security setup might not prepared to stop.

Spam and Malware

While stepping up your security measures is always a great decision, it’s only part of the solution to the issue of malicious spam. The reason this tactic is so successful for hackers is that it hinges on the end user clicking on an infected link or attachment. Once your employee opens an infected attachment or link, the malicious code begins to run as programmed. By the time they realize they’ve made a mistake, it’s too late.

Ongoing cyber security training for your entire staff can go a very long way towards lowering your business’ risk of being hit by a spear phishing attempt, ransomware infection, or botnet infection. Just knowing what typical red flags look like, and using caution while checking your email can keep most of these cyber threats from doing the intended damage.

Adware has historically been viewed as more of an annoyance than anything else. That’s all starting to change. Ads embedded on web pages or appearing as pop-ups can carry malicious coding capable of changing browser settings, undermining your security programs, or gaining control of an infected system.

Exploit kits are continuing to be a problem for security professionals, with the latest lineup consisting of Sundown, Sweet Orange, and Magnitude. One piece of good news where adware is concerned, however, is that Adobe Flash is no longer a go-to exploit for hackers. Adobe is well aware of their track record with these infections, and is encouraging sites to move towards HTML5.

Today’s cybercriminals are focusing a lot of their attention on finding vulnerabilities in the cloud. The increasing popularity of cloud services and SaaS means that more and more valuable data is being moved to these platforms, and hackers are searching for a way in. This could almost be considered good news for a lot of businesses. Because your data isn’t being guarded by you, hackers are setting their sights on server providers – who are much better equipped to deal with these threats than you are.

This rise in cyber attacks has managed to make one positive impact on the security of businesses of all sizes; this new awareness is changing the way businesses and their IT security partners are approaching cyber security. Employee training is becoming common practice. Businesses are starting to separate their internal security team from their IT team to make sure that nothing gets missed or overlooked during the day-to-day monitoring and maintenance. More and more, businesses are reaching out to their IT provider to create a strategic IT security plan to make sure they can respond to infections or breaches quickly and effectively.

Businesses and security professionals alike are facing familiar threats with a few new tricks. But we’re learning from past experiences and mistakes, and coming up with new tricks of our own.

Want to learn more about the steps you can take to protect your business from spam, adware, and other threats? Contact us at or (719) 355-2440. We’re the IT professionals businesses in Colorado Springs trust.

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