Your IndustryOct 23 2014

Two-thirds of UK businesses disrupted by spam attacks

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As many as 68 per cent of UK businesses have experienced disruption to work from spam at least once in the last year, a survey by GFI Software has shown.

The independent research asked 200 IT decision makers how their businesses had been affected by spam since last September. More than two-thirds said their organisation had been affected by employees opening malicious emails, and a third of respondents reported losing up to five work hours from such incidents.

The most commonly encountered type of spam was phishing, where users are tricked into providing sensitive information to apparently trustworthy websites. Eight per cent of firms lost money and 11 per cent lost intellectual property as a result of employees opening malicious spam. Though only 2 per cent of organisations admitted to not having a spam policy for employees, 79 per cent relied on users to deal with any spam not caught by a filter.

Sergio Galindo, general manager of GFI Software, said that some cyber-attacks facilitated by email were becoming more sophisticated. He said: “Criminals are increasingly using spam to deliver malware payloads into the workplace with a view to causing disruption, holding PCs and servers to ransom or even stealing valuable information that can be sold or used for fraud.

“Infected machines mean unproductive computers and users, limiting business activities and losing money. Stolen data can result in everything from fines to lost customer confidence, while even non-malware spam creates disruption by clogging mailboxes, filling up storage and consuming IT admin time that could be put to work on more valuable tasks.”

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Ashley Clark, director at Staffordshire-based, said: “Without taking action on the server we could get thousands of spam messages a day, even denial of service. With incoming mail, if you don’t take the necessary action you could be inundated with spam. The danger of trying to manage outgoing mail is if your IP gets blacklisted and an email is extremely important, your email wouldn’t get through to the client.”