Millions of fish

“3 out of 4 phishing scams get into your inbox untouched”

ZDNet’s Chris Matyszczyk notes some startling figures in his recent article for Technically Incorrect.

“Apple sends me so many invoices every week that I scarcely know what I’ve gone and bought.

Then there are the constantly cheery emails I get from apparent relatives who want me to keep large sums of money for them. Just for a few days.

The wise wonderers at the university’s Center for Security, Communications and Network Research thought they’d try and become phishers themselves.

So they grabbed some sample email formulations from phishing attacks of the past and sent them to specific email addresses. Some of these phishing emails had links, others didn’t.

The results were truly painful.

A fulsome 75% of the linkless messages wafted straight through to inboxes. A hearty 64% of the ones enjoying links also sailed in without so much as a passport check.

“The poor performance of most providers implies they either do not employ filtering based on language content or that it is inadequate to protect users. Given users’ tendency to perform poorly at identifying malicious messages, this is a worrying outcome.”

Professor Steven Furnell, Leader, Centre for Security, Communications and Network Research (CSCAN), UoP

We’re told that technology has such a large brain these days. It can (allegedly) recognize a human facepredict your propensity to commit a crime, and even make President Obama say things he didn’t.

It seems less able, however, to spot that A. Harland O’Mali Whitebait is not a real name. Nor that, even if it was, the email address associated with it wouldn’t be mailbox50990@abangabobby.

As my colleague Danny Palmer recently reported, the most common form of phishing threat in your inbox is the personal impersonation.

Of course, users should have become more adept at noticing when an email is an evil fake.

You might think, though, that tech companies would have used their sophisticated systems to learn the clumsy wordings of so many of these scammers and made sure that none of these fakes ever reaches their customers’ eyes.”

Yet again, this highlights the absolute necessity for regular and effective security awareness training.

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