A study on malware attacks recently released by cybersecurity firm F-Secure found that spam is the most effective method for delivering malware.
According to F-Secure, hackers rely on phishing emails because systems are more protected against other forms of malware attacks. The click rate for email spam increased this year, up to 14.2 percent in 2018.
Among the spam emails that F-Secure examined in spring 2018, 46 percent were dating scams; 31 percent contained links to malicious websites; and 23 percent contained malicious attachments.
Many spam emails first direct users to a safe site before redirecting them to a site containing malware. This helps malware avoid detection. Another way hackers avoid automatic analysis is by asking users to enter a password contained in the body of the email in order to open an attached file.
According to the study, users are 12 percent more likely to open a phishing email if it claims to be from someone they know, and 4.5 percent more likely to open it if the subject line is free of errors. Scammers are also more successful if the email "implies urgency," rather than including "an urgent call to action." Ray Schultz "Dating Scams Are Widely Used In Malware Attacks, Study Finds" mediapost.com (Jul. 31, 2018).