Targeted Spam: A growing threat to cyber security

  • 1
  • September 28, 2015


Of all the different types of security threats an organization faces, Targeted Spam Emails may be one of the hardest to defend against. Even companies with the most sophisticated security infrastructures are susceptible to these emails because they go after the most vulnerable part of an organization’s security system, its people. Through the use of social engineering techniques, these emails usually contain very specific information tailored to employees within an organization. Usually, these emails have information such as a person’s full name, their company name and contain subject matter relevant to the target’s area of business. Depending on the specificity of the targeted attack, the information may be as broad as a relevant brand or hobby, or be as specific as addressing the victim personally. These targeted emails are sometimes so specific that it is often difficult to differentiate from a legitimate message.

If the hackers have been able to successfully convince you of the email’s legitimacy, they will use the attached file or link to install malicious software which is meant to steal your company’s sensitive information. If an employee of your company opens one of these emails, it can result in the theft of sensitive company information, private client information and/or industry secrets. Additionally, any breach in your company’s security infrastructure could result in a damaged reputation or loss of revenue. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your company’s susceptibility to these targeted email attacks:

  1. Employee training: Ensure that your employees recognize the threat and potential damages these emails can cause. Educate your employees on how to identify spam emails by providing examples. Show them how the messages are generally structured and encourage behaviors that will reduce overall risk, such as avoiding opening emails they are unsure of.
  1. Email Security Systems: Effective security systems are able to scan the contents of your email to ensure that they contain no spam, malware, phishing or targeted attacks.
  1. Segmented Networks: To minimize your company’s exposure, limit employee access to data on the network that is necessary to fulfill their work duties. By limiting an employee’s access, you can reduce the damage caused by a security breach.

If one of your employees opens a targeted spam email, be sure to get in touch with us right away. We will work to mitigate any losses or potential risks caused by the installed malware.

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